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Borden milk products back in Ohio after 24-year absence

Special to the Legal News

Published: July 11, 2019

After a 24-year absence, the Borden Dairy Co. products are now available in Ohio.

The company's milk and flavored drink products are available at retailers across the state with other products on the way later this year.

"Ohio played a significant role in Borden's history, so we are overjoyed to return and receive such incredible support from the community," said Tony Sarsam, CEO of Borden. "We look forward to winning Ohioans back with our tasty and wholesome products."

Gail Borden Jr. founded the company in 1857. It once had headquarters in Columbus until 1995 after an ownership change.

While the Dallas-based company's products have not been sold in the area for more than two decades, it cites a Cooper Roberts Research survey reporting that 80 percent of consumers were still aware of its brand.

Under new leadership, the company believes Ohio is important to its expansion strategy.

The company will operate two plants in Cleveland and Cincinnati with about 350 Ohio employees. The company's products have appeared at some Ohio schools over the past year.

The company's founder started opening milk factories after receiving a patent to develop the condensing milk process, which allowed dairy products to be preserved for long periods of time and could be shipped across hundreds of miles, according to the company website.

Borden later founded the company which was then known as the New York Condensed Milk Company. During the Civil War, the company would supply its milk products to the Union Army.

After Borden's death in 1874, the company renamed itself after its founder. It became the first company to use glass milk bottles in 1885. In 1936, the company introduced its brand mascot, Elsie the Cow, which was considered one of the top 10 advertising icons of the 20th century by AdAge.

"Ohioans will soon be able to spot Elsie on local television ads, truck wraps, in-store displays, mailed coupons and at events including the Ohio State Fair and the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon," the company stated.

The Borden Co. expanded throughout the 20th century with its chemical division becoming successful in the late 1950s. That division rebranded as Borden Chemical and made adhesive, plastics and resins.

The company itself would later re-brand as Borden Inc. and relocated to Columbus in 1966.

As a large conglomerate, the company's foods division bought other companies that made a variety of products such as bakery items, snacks and dairy products. By the late 1980s, Borden had annual sales exceeding $7.2 billion.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts purchased Borden in 1995 for $2 billion and not only relocated the company but took it private after nearly seven decades of public trading.

The company would undergo reorganization with Grupo Lala purchasing the dairy business in 2009.

Lala established its U.S. operations under the Borden Dairy Co. brand to honor Borden's legacy. ACON Investments became an investor of the company in 2017.

Borden employs 3,300 people this year and operates 13 milk processing plants and nearly 100 branches across the United States. It distributes nearly 500 gallons of milk each year for customers and offers more than 35 products.

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