Van de Kamp Sells Bakery to Private Investor Group

Times Staff Writer

Van de Kamp’s Holland Dutch Bakers, whose trademark blue windmills have graced packages of baked goods for 72 years, has been sold to an private investor group headed by businessman Simon S. David, the bakery said Tuesday.

David’s group paid an undisclosed sum of cash for the stock of the San Marino-based bakery firm, which was privately held by James M. Galbraith, William R. Zimmerman and Richard B. Gordinier. The sale was completed July 1.

Gordinier, who has been president and chief executive of the bakery, is part of the new buyout group and will continue in his management roles. He said the company, which employs 600 workers at its Los Angeles plant, will continue to operate as usual.


Galbraith said in a telephone interview that the bakery had not been up for sale but that “they simply made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.” His group purchased the bakery in 1985 from Jack W. Leeney.

David, former co-owner of the Leo’s Stereo chain, operates a Carson-based real estate firm named Interstate Consolidated Industries.

Origin in Potato Chips

Van de Kamp sells 140 varieties of baked goods under its own name, makes croissants under the Le Papillon brand and recently began targeting Latino consumers with its test marketing of a new line of baked items called Linea Suprema Dorandy. The firm has estimated annual retail sales of about $80 million.

Van de Kamp was founded in 1915 when Theodore Van de Kamp, uncle of current California Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp, and Theodore’s brother-in-law, Lawrence L. Frank, opened a store at Second and Spring streets to sell potato chips. The company grew over the years and eventually included coffee shops and self-service bake shops in supermarkets.

General Host, then known as General Baking Co., of Stamford, Conn., bought Van de Kamp in 1956 and developed the Van de Kamp frozen foods. The frozen food group burgeoned to include Mexican and other ethnic entrees.

In 1979, Leeney, then a General Host executive, bought the Van de Kamp bakery. Five years later, Pillsbury purchased the Van de Kamp frozen foods business from General Host, and the two firms, despite their shared name, are now separate entities.