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Amherst food-service supplier buys New York City distributor

BHS Foodservice Solutions, a fourth-generation business that sells equipment and supplies to the food-service industry, has acquired a New York City-based distributor as part of its push into the downstate market. A portfolio company of the private-equity firm Lorraine Capital, the former Buffalo Hotel Supply Co., acquired H. Weiss Inc. in a deal that closed Friday.

The acquisition creates one of the country's largest distributors of food-service equipment and supplies, with combined annual revenues of $75 million and 120 employees, said Lorraine founder and managing principal, Richard F. Gioia. BHS had 72 employees on its own, although its employment fluctuates seasonally.

"It gives us the size and scale to continue to be a competitive company," Gioia said.

The Amherst-based company has been making inroads into downstate New York and a deal with H. Weiss was a natural fit, Gioia said.

“H. Weiss is a market leader downstate and, given BHS’ historical focus in upstate, this acquisition expands our footprint across important market segments so that we can better serve our customers,” BHS President Donald M. Harvey said in a statement. “It is an exciting time for both companies.”

The selling shareholders of H. Weiss will remain with the company in leadership roles, Lorraine said, and all H. Weiss employees will remain with the company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

BHS has grown significantly since Lorraine Capital purchased Buffalo Hotel Supply Co. in December 2014, Gioia said. BHS in January 2016 acquired Innovative Restaurant Supply, a distributor based in a Rochester suburb.

BHS was the first acquisition for the Buffalo private equity firm, which seeks to buy companies that might otherwise have trouble raising capital and that may not have a succession plan in place to survive past the current generation of leadership.

Lorraine has made six acquisitions in total now, including the two made through its portfolio company BHS.

In addition to Gioia, the other Lorraine partners are William J. Maggio Jr., Justin Reich and Tony Rider.

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