Passionate Entrepreneurship Helps South Carolina Company Increase Sales

CASE STUDY: Azalea Capital partnered with a passionate entrepreneur at Spartan Foods of America to realize a 3.5x increase in sales over a four year period.

Company Overview

Founded in 1983, Spartan Foods of America, Inc. manufactures shelf-stable, gourmet pizza crusts sold under the Mama Mary’s® brand name at over 20,000 retail locations throughout the United States.  Spartan also manufactures frozen pizza crusts for distribution through various institutional, food service, and vending channels.


Believing in the power of food to bring people together, Tom Baliker founded Spartan Foods of America with a passion to deliver a quality pizza crust product to at-home cooks across the United States.  Given his own family experience, Tom named his flagship products Mama Mary’s® in honor of his own mother.  In the early years, Spartan Foods developed a loyal customer following, but was challenged to realize its desired financial goals.

The Solution

Azalea made a substantial equity capital investment in Spartan Foods and together with Tom charted a strategic direction for the business.

The partnership saw Azalea and Spartan recruit a seasoned food industry executive to prepare Spartan for a period of rapid growth, make significant investments in the manufacturing plant and equipment to enhance efficiency and expand production capacity, develop several new products to broaden Spartan’s offering to the marketplace, and invest in several new management positions including a new Plant Manager, Director of IT, Director of Quality, as well as expanding the Sales and Marketing team.

The partnership also saw both companies optimize Spartan’s supply chain processes resulting in substantial cost savings for both ingredients and packaging materials, aggressively invest in geographic expansion enabling the Company to go from a regional to a national brand, and supported Spartan’s acquisition of Mystic Pizza Company (a frozen pizza brand), leveraging manufacturing and sales infrastructure to broaden the product portfolio and distribution channels.

The Results

Over the course of four years, Spartan grew from $16 to $56 million in revenues and expanded profits from $1 to over $7 million.

In recognition of the growth of the Company, Tom Baliker was awarded the Entrepreneur of The Year Award for the Southeast Region by Ernst and Young

While Azalea provided capital, strategy, and discipline to the effort, Tom Baliker and the entire Spartan Foods team possessed the passion and commitment to build a great business.  Azalea was privileged to be part of the process.


Tom Baliker, founder of Spartan Foods of America

“Azalea Capital is a group you can trust. They are very fair and very focused on performance. I would highly recommend them to any growing company, as they provide the resources to grow, along with the strategic direction to best use those resources. They are a true business partner in every sense of the word.”

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