Mochi Ice Cream Co., credited with inventing and popularizing the frozen spin on the Japanese treat, has been sold by El Segundo-based Century Park Capital Partners.
The private equity firm bought the Vernon-based company from its founders, the Hashimoto family, five years ago.
The new owner, an investment fund managed by Lakeview Capital Inc., headquartered in Michigan, closed the deal Jan. 31. Terms were not disclosed.
Mochi Ice Cream Co. started in 1910 as Mikawaya, a Japanese pastry shop in Little Tokyo. Founder Ryuzaburo Hashimoto sold the store in 1925 to his nephew, Koroku Hashimoto, and Koroku’s wife, Haru.
Their daughter, Frances Hashimoto, took the reins in 1970. She and her husband, Joel Friedman, are credited with inventing the popular desert, a ball of ice cream wrapped in dough-like mochi rice cake. It’s now sold under the My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream brand name.
When Century Park bought the business in 2015, it was sold in “fewer than 1,000 niche ethnic and specialty grocery stores,” according to the company. The private equity firm rebranded it as Mochi Ice Cream Co. and expanded distribution “to more than 20,000 grocery, club and foodservice locations nationwide.”
Mochi Ice Cream Co. operates a 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and has 150 employees. It posted about $50 million in revenue in 2018, the latest figure available.
President and Chief Executive Craig Berger will remain at the helm, along with the rest of the management team.
“(They) did an exceptional job in unlocking the potential that existed within Mikawaya,” Guy Zaczepinski, Century Park’s managing partner, said in a statement. “We are excited for this category, and for the company’s next chapter.”
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