Women-owned cookie companies merge to become major player in US speciality foods industry

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Selma's soft-baked cookies are joining Byrd's Famous Cookies extensive portfolio of bite-sized snacks. Selma's Cookies
Selma's soft-baked cookies are joining Byrd's Famous Cookies extensive portfolio of bite-sized snacks. Selma's Cookies

Related tags Byrd's Famous Cookies Selma's Cookies Cookies Private label

Savannah-based Byrd’s Famous Cookies has acquired Selma’s Cookies, which will significantly broaden its market reach in the US.

According to Byrd’s, the deal will make it one of the largest cookie companies in the specialty foods industry owned by women, expanding its US footprint and product line into brownies, crispy rice treats and large soft-baked cookies.

Byrd’s – founded in 1924, when Benjamin Tillman (Pop) Byrd opened a small bakery in Savannah – is a fourth and fifth-generation family-owned bakery, producing bite-sized and gluten-free cookies in a range of flavours, including Key Lime Coolers, Maple Wafers and Scotch Oatmeal.

It operates a number of retail outlets in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as producing treats for customers like L.L. Bean, Bergdorf Goodman and United Airlines.

Byrd’s also bakes private label products for Neiman-Marcus, Ritz-Carlton and Cumberland Farms.

The acquisition of Orlando-based Selma’s will expand Byrd’s reach into Florida.

Natural fit

Selma’s was created in 1990 by former TV news producers Selma Sayin, founded on the back of a white chocolate chip cookie. The baker’s portfolio today includes 13 private label cookie varieties, supplied to major theme parks in Florida and California, Las Vegas casinos, supermarket chains, department stores and specialty coffee shops.

Selma’s also produces customised options for corporate clients.

The transaction includes Selma’s production facilities in Orlando and Anaheim.

“We’re excited about the future, about Byrd’s expansion and about the opportunity to serve sweet treats to a fast-growing customer base at America’s leading theme parks, grocery stores and department stores,”​ said Stephanie Lindley, Pop Byrd’s great-granddaughter and CEO of Byrd’s.

Geoffrey M. Repella, president of Byrd’s, added, “Stephanie and Selma share an uncompromising commitment to quality, so this merger is a natural fit.

“Byrd’s Famous Cookies and Selma’s Cookies are both women-owned companies with strong legacies and impressive track records of success.”

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

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