Buckeye Beans & Herbs, a Spokane-based producer of specialty soups, breads and pasta products, said Friday that it has acquired the Pasta Mama’s manufacturing company in Richland.
The deal combines two of the state’s largest specialty food companies, with nearly $10 million in total annual sales.
The sale gives Buckeye Beans, with its 45 different specialty shaped pasta products, greater control over the manufacturing process and entry into marketing traditional pasta products such as fetuccine.
It also will boost Pasta Mama’s distribution clout by linking it to a specialty food company famous for its unorthodox marketing techniques. Pasta Mama’s was founded in 1983, the same year as Buckeye. It produces 32 flavors of pasta.
“This really expands what we can do in different markets,” said Buckeye co-owner Jill Smith.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Pasta Mama’s, which employs 17 people, will continue to operate its Richland production facility and retail store, with about 12 employees, Smith said. Company sales, marketing and shipping will be shifted to Buckeye’s headquarters in North Spokane, where 40 to 50 people work this time of year.
Pasta Mama’s owners Paul and Diane Santillie agreed to sell the company so they could focus on Paul’s recovery from a 1994 ballooning accident that left him paralyzed, Smith said.
In 1996, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Buckeye Beans its Washington Small Business of the Year. Pasta Mama’s won the award in 1991.
“In parallel, the two companies have grown and prospered,” Smith said. “It seems only natural that they come together.”