Today marks a milestone for Treat Bake Shop, the Milwaukee-based producer of small-batch artisan spiced and candied nuts.
Owner Sarah Marx Feldner announced today that she has sold her company to Quince and Apple, a Madison-based business owned by Matt and Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld that specializes in small batch preserves and syrups.
"There’s such a synergy between our two businesses already," notes Marx Feldner, "and we really operate in such similar ways. It feels good to be able to turn things over to Matt and Clare [Stoner Fehsenfeld]. I have a ton of respect for them both and I couldn’t think of a better place for Treat to flourish."
Quince and Apple, which was founded in 2009, has spent the past several years expanding their business beyond its Midwest roots, building a national reputation and a trusted network of distributors, brokers and accounts that value high-end, artisan products.
"We have long admired the company and brand that Sarah has built," says Matt. "We’ve had the pleasure of working together many times and are very excited to be able to use the resources we’ve built to introduce Treat Bake Shop’s spiced and candied nuts to a wider national audience."
Treat Bake Shop is the first acquisition by Quince and Apple in their nine-year history, but Clare says she hopes it’s just the first of many.
"There are so few options for owners of small, artisan food businesses if they want to sell," she explains. "They make great products and build great brands that have tremendous value, but their companies are often too small to attract the interest of larger, conventional food companies or investors."
Clare notes that brining the Treat business into the Quince & Apple portfolio offers advantages for both brands, while allowing them to continue to stay true to their artisan roots.
"We’ve lived what it’s like to build an artisan food company from the ground up for nine years, so we understand that founders don’t want to sell to just anyone," adds Matt. "You want to make sure your buyer truly understands what you’ve built and how much of your heart is in it. You need to feel sure that they will care for it as it grows in a way that you feel good about. That’s what we’re going to doing with Treat Bake Shop and, hopefully, we’ll have the chance to do the same with other brands in the future."
As a result of the sale, Treat Bake Shop will be shutting down its kitchen at 207 E Buffalo St. in Milwaukee’s Third Ward in mid-March and transitioning production to Quince and Apple’s kitchen in downtown Madison.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.