Five Star expands into Southwest Tennessee with purchase of another Canteen franchise

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Five Star Foods Service CEO Richard Kennedy demonstrates a product at the company's headquarters April 17. Since its founding in 1993, Five Star has grown into the largest franchisee for Canteen through organic growth and the acquisition of more than 50 other companies, including Southern Vending Inc. in Adamsville, Tenn., purchased this week.

In its third acquisition of another Tennessee Canteen franchise so far this year, the Chattanooga-based Five Star Food Service has purchased Southern Vending Inc. in Adamsville, Tennessee, to expand its micro markets, vending machine services and cafeteria operations into Southwest Tennessee.

Five Star, one of the South's largest break-time food providers and the largest Canteen franchise operator, announced the purchase of Southern Vending and its six-employee staff this week. The purchase will extend Five Star's service territory across the southern portion of Tennessee and add more than $500,000 in annual sales.

Already this year, Five Star bought two other contiguous Canteen territories to Southern Vending in Tennessee along with Corso Vending in Mobile, Alabama, as the firm continues to expand its service territory across the Southeast.

"Our acquisition of Southern Vending is an important milestone for our company," Mark Stephanos, executive vice president at Five Star Food Service, said in an announcement Monday. "We are confident that this strategic decision will be beneficial for both our newly acquired customers as well as new customers we earn, as we bring our exciting convenience services and fresh dining options to these communities."

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Brian and Lorri Blattler founded Adamsville-based Southern Vending in 2000, having since steadily grown their presence as a break-time solutions provider for Southwest Tennessee's largest employers. The relationship between the two companies matured due in part to their membership as Canteen franchises as well as mutual service on the state's industry association, the Tennessee Automatic Merchandisers Association.

Since its founding in 1993, Five Star has grown through more than 50 business and territory acquisitions to become one of the largest privately held convenience services operators in the United States and is the largest franchise of Canteen, a Compass Group company. Five Star generated more than $600 million in sales last year after acquiring major markets in New Orleans, Atlanta and Nashville, and company CEO Richard Kennedy said he is growing the firm to top $1 billion in sales by 2028.

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Five Star is an industry leader in micro markets, vending, pantry, coffee and water services, full-service dining, catering, fresh food production, coffee roasting, secured delivery and sustainable products serving nine states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner