Handel’s Gets Investment from California Equity Firm

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt has received a major investment from California private equity firm ClearLight Partner.

In an announcement issued in November, ClearLight did not disclose the terms of the deal. The equity firm made its investment in October. 

According to the firm’s overview pamphlet, ClearLight invests in companies with operating income between $4 million and $15 million and makes investments between $10 million and $50 million. 

Since it was founded, ClearLight has raised $900 million in capital from three funds from its sole limited partner, Japanese security firm Secom Co.

“I knew early on that we had a shared vision for how to support Handel’s growth while preserving the brand’s core values and continuing to invest in the quality ingredients and process that make Handel’s ice cream the best there is,” said Handel’s CEO Leonard Fisher in the announcement. 

Calls to Fisher Tuesday were not immediately returned.

In mid-November, Handel’s registered itself with the Ohio Secretary of State as a foreign limited liability company and with the Delaware Division of Corporations as a limited liability company, Handel’s Incorporated of Youngstown.

Handel’s, which this year celebrates its 75th anniversary, has 50 corporate and franchise sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Texas. Most recently, two sites opened in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

“The welcoming culture of the company, the incredible focus of the team on simply making great ice cream, the fanaticism of its customer base, and the taste and quality of its ice cream itself were all inspiring to us,” said ClearLight partner Andrew Brennan in a statement. “This partnership represents a chance to introduce the fabulous Handel’s ice cream experience to more people across the country and to continue to delight children, adults and families with a product that Alice Handel would be proud of.”

The equity firm primarily invests in founder- and family-owned businesses and focuses on growing them. In 2013, it invested in Planet Fitness franchisee Taymax. During its ownership, ClearLight expanded the number of sites operated by Taymax to 50 from 12 before exiting in 2018.

Among its other portfolio companies are OrangeTheory Fitness franchisee Austin Fitness Group, men’s apparel company Paul Fredrick, crowd-control products maker United Tactical Systems and legal-marketing company Walker Advertising.

The investment was first reported by Mahoning Matters.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.