Come to the Table

The merger of Farm Boy and CRS OneSource combines the trusted legacies of the area’s top food distributors

Farm Boy Food Service leadership reconsidered the company’s future once the COVID-19 pandemic – like in many industries – presented new challenges.

“For us to stay around and find another building for manufacturing, that’s a huge investment,” says Mark Bonenberger, the third-generation operator of the 70-year-old food service provider. Farm Boy still wanted to bring value to its independent operators (as profiled in December/January 2013 Evansville Business) and found a solution by merging with Owensboro, Kentucky-based CRS OneSource.

“We want to keep things local, for our valued customers and for us,” says CRS CEO Alan Clark. “That decision affects health care facilities, daycares, schools, and the places we all love to eat and to socialize: our local independent restaurants and taverns.”

For Clark and Bonenberger — both longtime Evansville residents spearheading family companies — a merger made sense. CRS could assure the quality that Farm Boy clients like Kipplee’s, Nellie’s Restaurant, Bud’s Rockin’ Country Bar & Grill, Gerst Haus, Sauced, House of Como, and Rolling Hills and Evansville country clubs have come to expect from the company’s selection of meat, dairy, dry goods, frozen foods, and more. CRS, in turn, expanded its customer base with the addition of high-volume customers like the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp, West Side Nut Club Fall Festival, Frog Follies, and the Vanderburgh County Fair.

“We’d been friendly competitors for decades,” Clark says. “We are now stronger and better equipped to service these legendary establishments.”

The merger has affected Farm Boy’s manufacturing — which CRS outsources — and the availability of certain products.

“I constantly get asked,” Clark says of Big B Barbecue, which sold out of its Farm Boy-produced bottles this summer. “We’re trying to find someone to make it to the same standards, but we haven’t found the right person yet.”

“But it’s not gone,” he adds. “No way.”

Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti
Maggie Valenti joined Tucker Publishing Group in September 2022 as a staff writer. She graduated from Gettysburg College in 2020 with a bachelors degree in English. A Connecticut native, Maggie has ridden horses for 15 years and has hunt seat competition experience on the East Coast.

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