Gillett forms new natural meat firm |

Gillett forms new natural meat firm

Daily file photoGeorge Gillett, with French ski legend Jean Claude Killy at an American Ski Classic, combined two of his companies to create the nation's largest organic meat company.

VAIL ” Former Vail Ski Area owner George Gillett is still atop the meatpacking mountain, combining two of his investment groups to create the country’s leading processor, marketer and distributor of fresh and natural and organic foods.

The new Colorado-based food company, Coleman Natural Foods LLC, was created by merging two of Gillett’s premier companies, BC Natural Foods LLC, located in Golden, and KDSB Holdings LLC, headquartered in Gainesville, Ga. The new meat company will have more than $500 million in annual revenue, according to the Rocky Mountain News.

George A. Chivari, president and CEO of BC Natural Foods, becomes president and CEO of the new company. Mel Coleman Jr. will continue to serve as chairman of Coleman Natural Foods. Coleman’s father founded the company. He was a Colorado cattle rancher who helped establish standards for natural and organic beef. The senior Coleman died in 2002.

“The combination of these two successful and uniquely compatible companies into a single organization will be positive for our customers, employees and investors,” Chivari said. “We will be able to harness our unparalleled industry knowledge, technologies and expertise within these organizations to fully benefit the customer.”

The merger creating Coleman Natural Foods was completed Tuesday.

Brands include Coleman, Petaluma Poultry, Kings Delight and Snow Ball Foods. The company has about 300 workers at three Colorado facilities, spokeswoman Robyn Nick told the News.

The new company totals nearly 2,300 employees at 17 locations in six states. Now Coleman Natural Foods ranks among the top 30 meat processors in the United States, according to National Provisioner’s Top 125 list. The publication estimated Kings Delight’s net sales at $125 million, Coleman’s at $100 million and Snow Ball’s at $50 million.

The company provides much of the organic meat sold in the Vail Valley. The Coleman company provides beef to Good Times Burgers restaurants and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Gillett is an inductee into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in Vail.

He bought Vail and Beaver Creek in 1985 and applied many innovative ideas to polish the growing resort. He installed several high-speed detachable quad chairlifts and added more groomed slopes. That expanded the capacity of Vail’s slopes.

Gillett helped bring the 1989 World Alpine Ski Championships to Vail, when other resorts weren’t interested in holding the large event. This made Vail the only resort in North America to host the championships. The races in 1989 and 1999 attracted international acclaim and reached out to thousands of ski enthusiasts.

Under Gillett, Vail introduced a central reservation system that made it easy for people to book entire vacations including plane tickets, lodging and lift tickets in one phone call.

Gillett is still involved in the ski industry. Currently he runs the Booth Creek Ski Holdings and manages six other ski resorts in North America. In 1999, Gillett was honored by Ski magazine as one of 100 Most Influential Skiers of All Time.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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