Kenex Holdings, a Chicago-based investment company, has acquired Aiea-based Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Deserts Inc., which is best known for its line of mochi ice cream.
Bubbies was founded in 1985 by Keith Robbins, who will continue investing heavily in the company and will keep his “Mr. Bubbie” title, serving as the company’s face at industry trade shows.
“Kenex is the perfect fit with Bubbies’ culture, and this partnership will allow Bubbies to continue to grow and spread joy and peace through mochi,” Robbins said Wednesday in a statement. “I believe this transaction will benefit our staff and our customers — a paramount goal of mine as I begin to transition into retirement. I am thankful that Kenex shares my passion for the product and vision for Bubbies so that the company can perpetuate its vision and goals.”
Robbins grew Bubbies from a Hawaii-based mom and pop to an international distributor serving the United States, France, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. In recent years, Robbins has been concentrating on wholesale. This latest announcement follows the October 2015 closure of the Bubbies retail store in McCully, which reopened in February as an Island Scoops, which purchases ice cream and mochi ice cream from Robbins. A franchise operator also runs a Bubbies in the Koko Marina Shopping Center.
“Keith has built a phenomenal company and brand that possesses a product that is second-to-none in the market,” Nick Kuneman, Kenex partner said in a statement. “We are excited to acquire Bubbies and invest in the next phase of its growth. Kenex has a proven strategy of working with family-owned companies to navigate leadership transition.”
Rick Schaffer, who served most recently as vice president of retail sales at Grecian Delight, will become Bubbies’ new chief executive officer.
”Bubbies’ products and reputation are an ideal foundation as we position ourselves for growth,” Schaffer said in a statement.