Businessman and discount supermarket chain Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. (TASE:RMLI) controlling shareholder Rami Levy is entering a new sphere of activity - Jerusalem boutique bread baker Teller. Teller has built a bakery for boutique bread on a property in Shilat belonging to Levy at an investment of NIS 5 million. The 500-square meter bakery contains a boutique bread store for consumers and a café, with retail sales to cafes, restaurants, and hotels.
Through his son, Kobi Levy, Rami Levy acquired 25% of Teller Bread's activity, but this investment was kept under the radar. In recent months, Kobi Levy increased his holdings to 35% at a company valuation of nearly NIS 20 million. The business is completely different from Rami Levy's other discount rate business. Teller Bakery is identified with sales of premium products, such as bread, cake, cookies, and sandwiches.
Levy's partner in Teller is Daniella Abramson-Benita, 33, who worked until recently as a lawyer. In the past three years, Abramson-Benita bought shares in Teller Bakery, and became the company's CEO.
Teller Bakery was founded a decade ago by Avishai Teller as a home bakery, and shortly after expanded to a store on Agrippas Street in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem. After four years, Teller brought a partner into the business - Michel Sultan - but the two soon quarreled, and are still tied up in litigation in the Jerusalem District Court. Three years ago, Kobi Levy and Abramson-Benita acquired the founder's shares, and recently expanded this holding.
Since the acquisition by Levy and Abramson-Benita, the bakery has greatly expanded, and Levy and Abramson-Benita have decided to expand it still further. "We saw a brand with a name in Jerusalem that could be made into a bigger business," Abramson-Benita says.
Today, 50% of the business's activity take place through the Jerusalem store and the stand in the market. The rest consists of marketing to Jerusalem hotels; such as the Waldorf Astoria, Cramim Hotel, Orient Hotel, King David Hotel; and restaurants and cafes. The bakery's sales are currently estimated at NIS 14 million a year, and it markets to 100 points and employs 70 workers. At the same time, Abramson-Benita is expanding the bakery's retail activity, and plans to set up another store in another of Levy's properties in the Ispro shopping center.
As to whether Teller's boutique bread will find its way to shelves in Rami Levy's stores, Abramson-Benita says, "We may make a specific line for his supermarkets and for Cofix, which will substantially boost sales. The challenge is the price, because this is a high-quality expensive boutique, our prices are expensive, and the raw materials aren't cheap, so in order to adapt to the consumers of Rami Levy, we'll have to produce a special mix."
The deal through Kobi Levy has no connection to the public company controlled by Rami Levy. Late last week, Cofix, controlled by Rami Levy, reported that that it was negotiating to acquire four branches of the Little Switzerland chain for NIS 18 million. The report said that the acquired activity's annual volume was NIS 67 million. Little Switzerland currently has six retail stores, two of them franchises, plus marketing activity to other chains. As part of the deal, Rami Levy will acquire only the owned stores in Holon, Netanya, Ramat Gan, Petah Tikvah. The two franchises are located in Ashdod and Dimona. The marketing activity is not part of the deal.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 6, 2019
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