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Tortilla King Announces Investment by Flagship Food Group

Kansas-based Maker of High-quality Tortillas and Tortilla Chips Secures Investment by Leading Diversified Food Company  

Tortilla King announced today that Flagship Food Group, LLC (Flagship) has agreed to make an investment into Tortilla King to support its future growth and expansion strategy.  Flagship will become the majority owner in the company while current local management remains in place and Juan Guardiola remains a shareholder. 

With the acquisition, Flagship solidifies its place as one of the leading and largest privately held food companies in the country focusing on Hispanic brands with an emphasis on premium products. 

“I’ve known the team at Flagship for many years, and we’ve been a supplier and partner of theirs across several of their product portfolios.  Coming together as one company made sense for them, for me, and for our valued employees and customers,” said Juan Guardiola, co-founder of Tortilla King.  Guardiola will remain in his role as President of Tortilla King. 

“We are building a world-class, scaled, diversified food company.  The Hispanic foods category has been our principal focus for nearly a decade, and the addition of Tortilla King expands both our capabilities and geographic footprint,” said Rob Holland, founder of CREO Capital Partners and its managing partner.  Holland helped lead the firm’s acquisition of 505 Southwestern over a decade ago and has driven the brand’s growth by over 15-fold during CREO’s ownership. 

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Rob Holland Named Entrepreneur of the Year® 2021 Utah Region Award Finalist

Rob Holland

Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) today announced that Rob Holland, Executive Chairman of Flagship Food Group, was named an Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Utah Region Award finalist.  Now in its 35th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors unstoppable business leaders whose ambition, ingenuity and courage in the face of adversity help catapult us from the now to next and beyond.

Holland was selected by a panel of independent judges. Award winners will be announced during a special virtual celebration on July 29 and will become lifetime members of an esteemed community of Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world.

Holland formed Flagship in 2012 to bring together a portfolio of premium, branded food products companies.  He served as CEO from 2012 to 2017, and today continues to serve as Executive Chairman.  Flagship sells products under the Lilly B’s, 505 Southwestern, La Tortilla Factory, and TJ Farms brands.  In addition, Flagship works with premier food retailers and manufacturers by providing third party logistics, packaging, and brokerage services.  Among its prized brand assets, 505 Southwestern is the country’s largest jarred green chile brand, and grew by approximately 50% in 2020 and is the fastest growing brand in its category.

Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive award programs for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The nominees are evaluated based on six criteria: entrepreneurial leadership; talent management; degree of difficulty; financial performance; societal impact and building a values-based company; and originality, innovation and future plans. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries around the world.

“Entrepreneurship has been in my blood since I grew up around my dad and saw the businesses and inventions that he created.  That inspiration lives on as I have very proudly built one of the leading privately-held diversified branded CPG companies in the country.  We have an incredible team and plants and facilities across the US that are all focused on bringing great products to our customers,” said Holland, who started his first business in middle school.  In growing Flagship, Holland has led nearly 20 acquisitions of small and medium sized food companies, including three in Europe.

Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, to be announced in November at the Strategic Growth Forum®, one of the nation’s most prestigious gatherings of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2022.

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La Tortilla Factory Announces Investment by Flagship Food Group

Family-owned La Tortilla Factory, makers of high quality tortillas and authentic Mexican foods, finds like-minded partner to support future growth

SANTA ROSA, Calif. and DENVER, Jan. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — La Tortilla Factory, Inc.  (LTF) announced today that Flagship Food Group, LLC (Flagship) has agreed to make an investment into the company to support its future growth strategy.  Flagship will become the majority stake holder in the company while the third generation Tamayo family members continue to remain valued partners.

“We are excited and eager to embrace Flagship Food Group and its entire family of companies and brands as supporters of La Tortilla Factory’s strategic growth plan,” said Jeff Ahlers, CEO. “Their investment acumen and broader experience in the food industry will support and accelerate our strategy, especially given their success and enthusiasm within the Mexican food category.”

Majority owned by CREO Capital Partners, Flagship is a diversified food company that sells a wide range of food products and services under the 505 Southwestern, Lilly B’s, TJ Farm’s and other brands.  Most of Flagship’s brands are rapidly expanding, having experienced double-digit growth in recent years.

“As we embark on our 43rd year in business, we are excited to have Flagship Food Group as partners.  It was very important to our family that a new partner shared our core values and were genuinely interested in our people, our brand, and our culture,” said Sam Tamayo, third generation family member and Chairman of the Board.  “We feel fortunate to have found a match with Flagship and CREO.”

The Tamayo family started La Tortilla Factory in 1977 to serve local Northern California restaurants and retailers.  Today, the Company is the largest nationally-distributed tortilla brand whose product portfolio is focused on true better-for-you, organic, and low carb categories. 

“As Flagship has continued to focus on premium-oriented food brands, and in particular in the Hispanic foods sector, it became clear to us that La Tortilla Factory was a perfect addition to our platform.  Being one of the leading brands in the better-for-you segment of the tortilla and Mexican food space, LTF further enhances our ability to execute on our growth strategy,” said Rob Holland, the Founding Partner at CREO Capital Partners.

Patrick Moulder, a partner at CREO added, “We’ve gotten to know Jeff, Sam, and the broader LTF family of executives and ownership over the past year and half, and our passion for helping them to build their business is very high.”

The new partnership will build on the outstanding reputation that La Tortilla Factory has cultivated within the food industry and community since 1977.  Its 300 employees will remain in place and focused on the company’s vision to be the innovative brand leader in premium Mexican food.  

The transaction closed on January 27, 2021.  Terms of the transaction are confidential. 

Cascadia Capital represented and advised La Tortilla Factory on this transaction. 

Nixon Peabody advised Flagship Food Group.

About La Tortilla Factory:
Headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, La Tortilla Factory is one of the leading makers and distributors of premium and better-for-you tortillas and Mexican food products.  Since 1977, when founders Jose and Mary Tamayo opened the doors of La Tortilla Factory, they were dedicated to creating authentic recipes with premium ingredients. Three generations later, that vision has led La Tortilla Factory to become one of the largest and fastest-growing brands in its core markets and product categories.  The Company offers a wide range of corn, flour, and specialty tortillas, such as Grain-Free Cauliflower, Low Carb, and Protein along with side dishes, sauces, and snacks.  La Tortilla Factory operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Northern California and operates distribution facilities in multiple cities on the West Coast.

About Flagship Food Group:
Flagship Food Group is a diversified food company that manufactures, sells, and distributes food products under the 505 Southwestern, Lilly B’s, TJ Farm’s, La Tortilla Factory, and Hatch Kitchen brands.  The Company also partners with leading food retailers to develop R&D-driven private label programs, and provides food logistics, warehousing, and freight management services within the food industry.  The Company operates facilities and offices in Boise, ID, Denver, CO, Albuquerque, NM, Santa Rosa, CA, San Francisco, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Indianapolis, IN.  Flagship is majority owned by CREO Capital Partners, LLC.

About CREO Capital Partners:
CREO Capital Partners is a Denver, CO-based investment firm exclusively focused on the food and consumer products industry segments.  Founded in 2005, the firm has successfully invested in over 20 food companies in the USA and the UK, and focuses on partnerships with outstanding management and premium brands.  Investments have spanned the branded retail, private label, food logistics, and food distribution industry sub-segments.  With most of its investments held via its diversified food business, Flagship Food Group, CREO actively seeks dialogue with food companies that have an interest in joining in the Flagship journey.  

Media Contact: Holly Perez, Marketing Manager, email hidden; JavaScript is required