SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Tate’s, the once humble bake shop in the Hamptons, is being sold for $500 million to Mondelez International Inc., the snack food giant that makes Oreos cookies and Ritz crackers.
Renown for its signature chocolate chip cookie, Tate’s Bake Shop uses brown cane sugar and salted butter, instead of more commercially common high fructose corn syrup.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan spoke with the woman behind the bake shop Friday.
“Everyone is worried that the taste will change,” McLogan said.
“No,” said Kathleen King. “They intend to keep it the way it is.”
She’s about to kiss it all goodbye, and her Southampton community is crushed.
“When the signing happened, I started to cry,” she said.
The emotions sent her back in time to baking her first cookies at age 11, selling them locally on the family’s North Sea farm.
“At the farm and teasing my brother that I was going to be the best cookie in America one day, you’ll see,” King recalled.
They went from 5 cents a cookie to $500 million for her company. But she won’t pocket all of that — she’s a minor shareholder of her cookie empire, now producing 1.5 million cookies a day in their East Moriches factory.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Tate’s sales quadrupled in the past five years.
King said she plans to keep baking for family and friends even after Tate’s is sold.
“It’s just another change,” she said, adding change often brings something better.
Mondelez, based in Illinois, was created to produce snack food lines after splitting off from Kraft Foods in 2012. It currently does $25 billion in sales annually.
The Tate’s buy marks the first acquisition by chief executive Dirk Van de Put, who took over at Mondelez last November.