Workers to Buy Indiana Food Distributor

GOSHEN, IN (March 9, 2011)—The owners of a Goshen, Ind.-based food distributor, Troyer Foods, say they will sell the company to its 280 employees rather than risk selling it to a company that might move it.

Troyer's is a Goshen-based food distribution company owned by Paris and Becky Ball-Miller, at least until a few days ago. The Ball-Millers will complete the deal over the next 10 years. They've already hired experts to help them through the process, and the owners will continue to manage the company in the meantime.

"We had made the decision to sell 100% of the stock of the company," said Becky.

Words delivered to the company's 280 employees at a company dinner.

Becky says they let the shock sink in and then broke the news. "And then we said, congratulations, you're the new owners of Troyer foods."

"We couldn't believe it, we weren't expecting it," says Lisa. Something she was expecting was how it would make her feel. It's how she feels every day. "Loved by them," Lisa explained.

For Paris and Becky, it started with one question. "What's more valuable to you?,"  Paris remembers asking himself. "Well, the relationships are more valuable to you, the success of the people you're around is more valuable to you than that additional dollar that you really don't need."

There were other options. "You look at a strategic buyer or you keep doing what you've been doing or you sell to the competition," said Paris.

Becky said, "There are other choices and they made it very clear to us that all of those would be more lucrative."  But they said those other options didn't feel right.

"We didn't create the company, we didn't start it from scratch," said Paris. "We acquired a company that was 45 plus years old and when you acquire something that already exists, that already has a lifeblood of it's own, that already has people that have built that company, you don't feel quite the same ability to do with it whatever you want."

Lisa said, "I think they knew that we knew what they wanted and how this company should be."  It's how this company already is.

"I love my job, for one thing," Lisa told us, "and I love Paris and Becky."

Words that bring tears to Becky's eyes. "I think that's what we're here for," she says. "For me, that's my life mission. I'm a very firm believer that God puts us here to take care of each other and we don't have children and so this is, in many ways our family and the people we care about."

Troyer Foods in Goshen distributes food to groceries, restaurants, schools and Dairy Queens across the area. The company also has facilities in Evansville, Grandview and Bloomington.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content

Emerging Brands

5 pre-emerging restaurant brands ready for takeoff

These small concepts are still proving out their ideas, but each shows promise as a potential candidate for the next generation of emerging chains.


This little-known iPhone feature could change restaurant ordering

Tech Check: Almost every customer has a POS in their pocket. Can mini mobile apps get them to actually use it?


Red Lobster gives private equity another black eye

The Bottom Line: The role a giant sale-leaseback had in the bankruptcy filing of the seafood chain has drawn more criticism of the investment firms' financial engineering. The criticism is well-earned.


More from our partners