Carlin O'Brien Acquires C.A. Fortune

Eating healthier is big business, and offering consumers the healthiest choices takes a special touch. For 30 years, Bloomingdale, Ill.-based C.A. Fortune has been ahead of the natural/specialty food trends and knows the business better than most.

C.A. Fortune’s owners, Ken and Dottie Rzeszutko, after nearly 50 years in the food brokerage business, have decided the time has come to make plans for retirement. Ken Rzeszutko began his career in the specialty food business in 1965 with Chicago Dietetic. In 1977, he joined C.A. Fortune; in 1983, he bought the company. “I think I was born into the food brokerage business,” he said.

Three years ago, Rzeszutko knew succession was imperative, so he began looking for a way for his employees to keep their jobs and the company to keep going.

“Carlin O’Brien was the perfect solution — it couldn’t have been a better match. Carlin O’Brien is a strong independent company and brings many resources to C.A. Fortune, which will continue as its natural/specialty/bakery division,” he said. “Had I decided to sell to a national brokerage, I am absolutely sure our company would have been picked apart — which is totally against my philosophy. Under new ownership, C.A. Fortune company will continue to live into the future.”

Carlin O’Brien is a full-service and independent food brokerage based in the Chicago area. This acquisition partners C.A. Fortune as the best-in-class specialty natural broker in the Midwest with Carlin O’Brien’s regional reach, multichannel expertise and analytic prowess. "It’s a win-win,” said Jeff Mahler, president of Carlin O’Brien. “All of C.A. Fortune’s management and personnel will be kept in place. We’re thrilled that all the top people are sticking with us — including both Ken and Dottie Rzeszutko, who will stay on to guide us into the business they’ve built. We're looking forward to working together to build business and brands.”

C.A. Fortune represents more than 150 specialty brands and manufacturers, through the distributor/wholesaler model, to a variety of retailers throughout the country — including KeHe, Lomar and many others.

Carlin O’Brien is a member of BeaconUnited, a venture of eight leading U.S. food brokers, combining the reach and resourcefulness of a national firm with the personal touch and market know-how of regional experts.

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