New York City-based cheese marketerArtisanal Brands, Inc. (AB) said it  hiredTully & Holland, Wellesley, Mass., as a strategic advisor to seek acquisition opportunities "that will expand Artisanal’s product offering and distribution, as well as to assist with a capitalization plan that enhances the company’s growth prospects and simplifies its balance sheet."

Artisanal Brands said it plans to expand its in store sales events business into Costco’s Texas and Southeast division in the spring. The company also is working on a cross-merchandising test in March and April in select locations within Costco’s Northeast Division to promote its new CheeseClock™ retail program with wines offered by Costco. Officials described the promotion will gauge Costco members’ interest in upscale food offerings and merchandising concepts that enable consumers to have a more informed shopping experience.

AB said it also is expanding its foodservice business and will be working on arrangements with specialty food distributors and hotel chains in major U.S. markets.

“Tully & Holland will help us address several operational and financial goals we outlined for this year," said Daniel W. Dowe, AB president and CEO. "Customers continually ask us to source products that would be compatible with our current line of handcrafted cheeses and this will add incremental business for us. With Tully we will look at licensing and acquisition opportunities.”

Artisanal Brands markets and distributes a line of specialty, artisanal and farmstead cheese products, as well as other related specialty food products under its own brand to food wholesalers and retailers, as well as directly to consumers through its catalogue and Web site,