ClearLight Invests in Top Ice Cream Seller

ClearLight Partners has made an investment in Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, a franchisor of ice cream shops, in partnership with Handel’s owner Leonard Fisher.

Handel’s has 47 corporate and franchised locations in Ohio (20), California (10), Pennsylvania (7), Indiana (2), Texas (2), Oregon (2) and one each in Alabama, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Handel’s menu includes over 100 flavors of ice cream and yogurt that are made in-store with batches made fresh daily at each location.

In 2006, National Geographic named Handel’s the #1 Ice Cream in its ’10 Best of Everything’ book. Handel’s, led by CEO Leonard Fisher, was founded in 1945 by Alice Handel and is headquartered near Youngstown in Canfield, Ohio.

“We knew Handel’s was special from the moment we were introduced to the business,” said Andrew Brennan, a partner at ClearLight. “The welcoming culture of the company, the incredible focus of the team on simply making great ice cream, the fanaticism of its customer base, and the taste and quality of its ice cream itself were all inspiring to us. This partnership represents a chance to introduce the fabulous Handel’s ice cream experience to more people across the country and to continue to delight children, adults and families with a product that Alice Handel would be proud of.”

ClearLight Partners invests from $10 million to $50 million in US or Canadian based middle-market companies with revenues from $25 million to $250 million. Sectors of specific interest include specialty manufacturing; industrial technology; consumer products and services; business services; health care services; and education and training. The Newport Beach-based firm was founded in 2000 by its managing partner Michael Kaye and has raised $900 million in capital across three funds from a single limited partner.

“We are thrilled to partner with Leonard and bring Handel’s to new communities, we are very excited about our future together,” said Mr. Kaye.

“It has been a pleasure working with ClearLight given their strong background in helping franchised concepts and other consumer brands to grow,” said Mr. Fisher. “I knew early on that we had a shared vision for how to support Handel’s growth while preserving the brand’s core values and continuing to invest in the quality ingredients and process that make Handel’s ice cream the best there is.”

Clearlight’s investment in Handel’s closed in October 2019.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | November 26, 2019

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