Castle Harlan, Inc., a New York-based private equity investment firm, and its portfolio company, Gold Star Foods, Ontario, Calif., acquired A&R Wholesale Distributors, an Anaheim, Calif.-based supplier of fresh and healthy foods to schools in Southern California.

"Like Gold Star, A&R is experienced in dealing with the complexities of the USDA Child Nutrition Program, and helps to create meals that adhere to USDA nutritional standards and commodity guidelines,” says David Pittaway, senior managing director of Castle Harlan. “The combination of Gold Star and A&R will allow customers to benefit from access to new product categories, an increased number of SKUs and higher service levels."

A&R will continue to be led by Jeff Kuriel, and will operate from its Anaheim facility until the operation transitions to Gold Star's Ontario headquarters. At that time, Kuriel will join Gold Star's leadership team.

Prior to the A&R acquisition, Castle Harlan invested more than $40 million in Gold Star Foods during the first quarter of 2017, bringing its total investment to more than $60 million over the past year, to support the growth of Gold Star Foods. A portion of this capital was used to fund the acquisition of Colyar Technology Solutions, a designer, developer and marketer of food distribution and compliance management software based in Phoenix, Ariz., as well as the construction of an 188,000-square-foot food distribution center in Dixon, Calif. The Dixon warehouse supports Gold Star's expansion in Northern California.