Pittsburgh-based investors F.N.B. Capital Partners, along with a group of local investors including Jim Rudolph and Len Caric, announced Monday their acquisition of the region's fastest growing meat processing company, Uncle Charley's Sausage Company. The investors plan to increase funding to expand the business while keeping its unique brand value, leadership, Vandergrift-based manufacturing facilities and employees intact.

Located in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, Uncle Charley's Sausage Company produces and distributes gourmet sausage and meat products to retail markets throughout six states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland. The 25 year-old regional brand's key to success, and popularity with consumers is the freshness and quality of its ingredients: with pork sources in the tri-state area, the company's product moves from field to store in about 48 hours, contain 32% less fat than competitors and is never frozen.

A succession planning process for the company was led by Pittsburgh-based investment banking firm, Ventura Group, LLC, which acted as financial advisor to Uncle Charley's assisting in all aspects of the transaction. Charles Armitage, Sr., founder of Uncle Charley's Sausage Company, selected F.N.B Capital Partners and the other investors for their successful track record of expanding businesses and their dedicated passion for the Uncle Charley's Sausage Company brand.

"We feel truly honored that Mr. Armitage has chosen us to be the stewards of his company moving forward," said Jim Rudolph.

Overall, Armitage is very satisfied with the results of the process.

"I am glad that it [the company] is staying in the hands of local people. I have confidence that they will protect the brand's reputation and help take the company to the next level of growth. They are buying a brand – one that our dedicated management team, employees and family have worked hard to create," said Armitage.

The acquisition of Uncle Charley's Sausage Company by both partners keeps the ownership of the company local with support from investors who are dedicated to the region and the brand.

"While we have plans to substantially grow the business," explained Stephen Gurgovits Jr, managing partner at F.N.B. Capital Partners, "the priority is to maintain the integrity of the brand and product, while continuing to enhance relationships with our business partners and consumers."

Uncle Charley's will operate under the leadership of Len Caric, who will serve as the standing President and CEO, with Jim Rudolph serving as the company's chairman. Charles Armitage, Sr. will serve as a consultant for Uncle Charley's Sausage Company throughout the next year. Uncle Charley's Sausage Company has achieved impressive growth in both sales and profitability since 2006, almost doubling the business and its number of employees.

Jim Rudolph is a distinguished industry veteran and serial entrepreneur with extensive operational and executive management experience. He is the former Chairman and CEO of the 550+ unit Rita's Italian Ice Franchise Company, and the former President and Founder of the award-winning 46-unit Wendy's of Greater Pittsburgh franchisee group. Rudolph has been a successful entrepreneur and investor in the region for over 40 years.

Source: Uncle Charley’s Sausage Co.