Mrs. Dunster's is expanding once again, announcing plans to buy McBuns Bakery in a move to boost the company's baking capacity.
Blair Hyslop, the president of Mrs. Dunster's, said the deal with the Moncton-based McBuns came down to a simple reason.
"Consumers, retailers and restaurants are driving increased demand for fresh, locally made baked goods," he said.
"To keep up with the growth we've been experiencing, we needed more baking capacity."
McBuns Bakery, which has been around for more than 30 years, sells its baked goods to a wide variety of restaurants and retail stores in the area.
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Sussex-based Mrs. Dunster's recently announced it was also buying Kredl's Corner Market in Hampton.
The deal with McBuns is expected to close on Jan. 31.
The 60 McBuns employees got the news Thursday afternoon.
"I think they were a little bit surprised, then they were quite relieved to find out it was another New Brunswick company that was buying them and also a family-owned business," said Hyslop, who now has just over 140 employees in the business and will be adding 100 more in the next 90 days.
Twice a week, Mrs. Dunster's delivers baked goods to up to 700 grocery stores and 150 restaurants across the Maritimes and in Maine.
"We'll be able to take some of the best of their products and put those on our trucks and take them to market as well," he said of the McBuns pastries, decorative cakes, cupcakes and other products.
Seized an opportunity
Hyslop said the Mrs. Dunster's kitchen is at capacity and the expansion will serve clients better.
"We're constantly trying to find qualified bakers to work and that's a hard thing to do."
He said it's also difficult to find qualified bakers interested in the type of business they do.
'The key to expanding quickly is making sure the right people and the right structure is in place to manage it.' - Blair Hyslop, president of Mrs. Dunster's
"It's hard work," he said. "It's often done in the middle of the night or early, early mornings. It's physically demanding and creatively challenging. It's not for the faint of heart."
Steve Buckler, the owner of McBuns, will join the management team at Mrs. Dunster's as the director of operations, overseeing the company's four local bakeries in Sussex, Hampton, Moncton and Borden, P.E.I.
"The people that have worked for us for the past 10 years, they've become our extended family, all those families depend on their jobs we take that to heart," said Buckler.
"We feel Mrs. Dunster's provides security for the future and it's going to make it a fantastic place for everybody to work."
A growing business
Hyslop said this is the end of his "buying spree" for now.
Last month, Mrs. Dunster's announced it was buying Kredl's Corner Market, a Hampton food market that struggled in recent years to pay its creditors. In 2015, Mrs. Dunster's also bought Snair's Golden Grain Bakery in Borden.
Last year, Hyslop said, Mrs. Dunster's did a strategic five-year plan that called for two new acquisitions in four to five years.
"These opportunities came up, they were right there and an opportunity like McBuns wasn't going to come up again five years from now," he said. "It's an amazing company that fits in exactly what we know how to do."
Now the company's focus will be on successfully integrating the businesses. He said Mrs. Dunster's has doubled in size over the past three years and the latest acquisitions will help manage that.
"The key to expanding quickly is making sure the right people and the right structure is in place to manage it," he said.