Jacksonville-based company buys Southside property.
Jacksonville-based Darifair Foods LLC, whose history includes manufacturing Reddi-wip seven decades ago when it was invented, is investing in Flagler Center property for expansion.
Darifair paid $2.1 million Jan. 23 for about 5 acres at northeast Gran Bay Parkway and Flagler Center Boulevard in the Southside business park.
JEA issued a utility service availability letter Jan. 28 for Darifair to develop a 46,000-square-foot warehouse-industrial building on the site. Matthews Design Group is the civil engineer.
Darifair bought the property from Jacksonville-based Oakridge Realty LLC, which is part of International Management Co. LLC.
Darifair is based in Mandarin at 4131 Sunbeam Road, a 13,500-square-foot office building. The Block family founded and continues to lead the privately owned company.
Arbor Investments, with offices in Chicago and New York, invested in the company in May. It says it acquires middle-market food and beverage companies including manufacturers, marketers and distributors.
A spokeswoman declined comment about the plans.
Bloomberg.com reports that Darifair Foods LLC produces and supplies dairy products. It offers creams, cottage cheese, yogurt, fluid creamers, milk, ice creams, yogurt smoothies, sauces and other dairy products to clients in the U.S.
On Darifair.com, Darifair Foods says it focuses on creating culinary and food science-focused innovations for restaurants and food manufacturers and partners “to move menus and brands forward.”
The site says the Block family has owned and operated dairy companies for five generations from its Jacksonville headquarters.
“America’s first national dairy supplier, today we go beyond commodity dairy to provide wholesalers, restaurants and manufacturers with culinary-forward solutions,” it says.
Darifair’s online history says that in 1948, Aaron Block and Aaron Lapin co-founded Reddi-wip in Jacksonville.
Lapin, in St. Louis, invented Reddi-wip and Block became the Southeast manufacturer and supplier.
In 1985, Darifair was chartered as the first National Dairy Supplier and in the ‘90s, it became the nation’s largest producer of portion-controlled private label sour cream.
On May 1, Arbor Investments announced it recapitalized Darifair Foods Inc. Terms were not disclosed.
State corporate records show that Darifair Foods LLC was registered as a foreign limited liability company April 19, 2019, with the Block family as managers.
Arbor Investments said Darifair, which it said was founded in 1985, provides dairy products and fresh value-added ingredients for national chain restaurants and industrial food manufacturers.
It announced that Darifair CEO Andrew Block continued to lead the company along with senior management team members President Midd McManus, CFO Bill Block and Executive Vice President of Sales Jeffrey Block.
It said the Darifair management team had more than 20 years of experience leading the company.
“My family and our employees are extremely proud of all that we have accomplished at Darifair over the past 34 years,” said CEO Andy Block in the news release. “We started out as a supplier of commodity dairy products and have evolved into a solutions-based provider of value-added dairy products and dairy alternatives,” he said.
Block said Arbor Investments’ experience in the food and beverage industry can help Darifair access new opportunities.
“Together, we have a shared vision for where we can take the business. My family and I are excited to begin Darifair’s next chapter with Arbor,” he said.
As part of the transaction, Arbor brought on operating partner Peter Bradley, with more than two decades of executive leadership experience in the food and beverage, ingredient, and specialty chemical industries.