CASHMERE — Liberty Orchards, now in its 100th year as the maker of Aplets & Cotlets, is looking for a possible sale or merger.
The Cashmere company is now in its third generation of family ownership, President Greg Taylor said Monday.
“We don’t have any family members of the fourth generation available to take my place and so the owners, the family, decided it’s time to let somebody else run with it,” he said.
Liberty Orchards is open to selling the company outright or merging with another confectionary or fruit company, Taylor said. But the family would like to get out of the day-to-day management and operation.
“We’re open to any number of possibilities,” he said. “The buildings we operate in are our property in Cashmere, so that’s a consideration. We’d be open to a sale. We’d be open to some kind of merger or private equity.”
Taylor said they plan to keep a potential sale price confidential.
Most of the family’s third generation are now in their 70s or 80s, so they’ve been considering next steps for several years, Taylor said.
When Liberty Orchards was founded by Armenian immigrants Mark Balaban and Armen Tertsagian in the early 20th century, the company made its confections with fruit grown in its own orchards, Taylor said. Those were sold in the 1930s or 1940s.
Now Liberty Orchards’ primary focus is the confectionery production. Along with the flagship Aplets & Cotlets, the company also produces a variety of products including Dessert Delights and Pecan Delights.
Most of its retail business is done in the holiday season, where its staff of around 40 climbs to around 130 to fill mail and online orders, Taylor said.
Its candy kitchen tours in Cashmere, which draw around 50,000 visitors annually, remain popular throughout the year, Taylor said.
“We want a good outcome and a good place for the company to land,” he said.
The company is working with Cordell Berge of the firm Acquisitions Northwest.