Case Study: Amy's Kitchen, 1993 - 2002

Amy's Kitchen grows from a startup making one product, vegetarian pot pies, to become the leading company for frozen vegetarian meals in the nation with hundreds of products in various food categories.

Andy Berliner, the Founder of Amy’s Kitchen first met Mark Levin, Vice President of Voit Real Estate Services - Cypress Food Group, in 1993 when Amy’s was looking to expand their start-up organic food manufacturing company in Sonoma County, California. At that time, Amy’s had sales of less than $5M annually and was operating from several warehouse spaces, each less than 5,000 SF. Andy requested Mark’'s advice on a build-to-suit for Amy’s that had been proposed by a local real estate developer. After conducting his analysis, Mark concluded that there was the possibility that the high cost of entering into the build-to-suit might jeopardize the ability of Amy’s to have sufficient capital to grow its relatively new company. 

Amy's Kitchen

Amy's Kitchen

Seeking alternative solutions for Amy’s growth, Mark was able to structure a lease with an Option to Purchase for a 101,088 SF building on very favorable terms, with four months of free rent and a below market rental rate. Additionally, knowing that Amy’s only required 50% of the building initially, Mark proposed to sublease the remaining 50% and to defer receiving any leasing commission unless and until Amy’s reached $20M in annual sales. 

Mark successfully subleased the second half of the building and within less than two years, Amy’s reached $20M in sales. Within three years, Mark needed to find a new home for the subtenant, as Amy’s now needed the entire building. 

Now, 21 years later, Amy’s Kitchen has reached $450M in sales and is recognized as one of the leading natural food companies in the United States. Having expanded multiple times in Sonoma County, Amy’s now has operations in Oregon and Idaho and continues to enjoy growth exceeding 10% annually . During the last two decades, Mark has continued his work with Amy’s on many assignments; as both a real estate consultant and broker. Mark is currently working on various real estate projects for Amy’s Kitchen in California.