Sobeys’ parent company closes $800M acquisition of Ottawa-based Farm Boy

jeff york
Farm Boy co-CEO Jeff York.

Farm Boy’s run as an independent grocer officially came to an end Monday with the close of Empire Co.’s $800-million acquisition of the Ottawa-based company.

The parent company of Canadian grocery chain Sobeys announced it had cleared all regulatory hurdles and completed its purchase of Farm Boy, a fast-growing and well-loved Ottawa chain that focuses on fresh and locally sourced food.

Under Empire’s ownership, the food retailer’s 26 Ontario locations will remain under the Farm Boy brand and its products will join Sobeys’ e-commerce platform. Co-CEOs Jeff York and Jean-Louis Bellemare will remain with the firm under the new management structure.

Empire CEO Michael Medline called Farm Boy a “jewel of an asset” when the deal was first announced earlier this year and said there was significant runway for growth. The company plans to open 14 locations in the Greater Toronto Area over the next three years and double its footprint in Ontario in the next five years.

“We look forward to turbo-charging Farm Boy's growth and allowing them to broaden the reach of their winning formula," said Medline in a statement on Monday.

Despite the rapid expansion plans and new ownership, York assured OBJ in September that Farm Boy’s unique brand identity is here to stay.

“There should be no concern from our customers because it’s only going to get better,” he said. “Nothing’s going to change. We’re just going to keep growing it better and faster and keep concentrating on what we do best.”

Jeff York will be speaking at the regular Mayor's Breakfast Series this coming Wednesday.