MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — Dane Creek Capital Corp. (DCCC) on Jan. 4 announced its acquisition of Growlies Pet Foods Inc., a Canadian pet specialty retailer, through its subsidiary United Raw Pet Foods Inc.
As part of the transaction, United Raw will enter a lease agreement to operate Growlies’ retail store in Victoria, British Columbia, as well as its warehouse and freezers nearby the store. The agreement is between United Raw and N.J. Cropper Holdings Ltd., a company owned by Growlies’ founders Jo-Anne and Neal Cropper.
The Croppers started Growlies Pet Foods in 2007. Since then, the store has grown to become one of Canada’s top raw pet food retailers, according to Dane Creek Capital. Growlies primarly sells raw pet foods — which made up more than 80% of its total sales in 2020 — but also offers some dehydrated, freeze-dried and canned pet foods, as well as premium pet treats and supplements.
“Jo-Anne and I felt that at this stage in the growth of Growlies, it made sense for us to align ourselves with Dane Creek given its focus on the pet industry in Canada and the raw food segment in particular,” Neal Cropper said. “We were pleased with the resources Dane Creek was able to allocate to ensure that the sale was completed in a timely and efficient manner.”
United Raw’s own Naturawls brand is within Growlies’ top seven best-selling raw pet foods sold at its store, along with four other brands produced by United Raw. The store also sells Buddies, Mega Dog, Pets Go Raw, and Red Dog Blue Kat brand of raw pet food.
This marks the first acquisition of a pet specialty retailer made by United Raw, but not the first raw pet food-focused company acquisition. United Raw has acquired five Canadian frozen-raw pet food manufacturers since 2017, most recently acquiring Tollden Farms Inc. in March 2020.
“We are delighted to announce this acquisition,” said Mark Warren, co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Dane Creek Capital. “Growlies is a unique opportunity for us to pair a leading, if not the leading, raw food retail operation in the country with the additional infrastructure needed to better serve all of our retail customers on Vancouver Island. We expect to derive significant benefits via the vertical integration of these components into our existing business.”
Altogether, United Raw and its subsidiaries produce 10 brands of frozen raw pet food sold in Canada. Additionally, the company has a minority interest in Pet Plate, a minimally processed, direct-to-consumer pet food company based in the United States. Dane Creek Capital also owns several pet treat and supplement brands operating throughout Canada.
“The United Raw team, which includes personnel on Vancouver Island, looks forward to working with Neal, Jo-Anne and the highly trained advisors and associates at Growlies who are steadfastly dedicated to improving the health and welfare of dogs and cats in Victoria and its surrounding communities,” Warren added.
United Raw Pet Foods is 70% owned by DCCC, with the remaining 30% owned by DCCC’s shareholders, according to the company.
DCCC’s other recent acquisitions in the raw pet food space include Mountain Dog Enterprises Inc. in 2017, Pets 4 Life, Naturawls Pet Products and Natural Chow Pet Food Corp. in 2018, and RawPaw Natural Foods in 2019.
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