Milwaukee-basedKangaroo Brands Inc.’s continued success in the handheld sandwich realm has the bread, snack and sandwich producer looking to expand.
[caption id="attachment_154739" align="alignright" width="424"] Salem Kashou (top left) with members of his staff.[/caption]
Since introducing its Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin line in 2012, Kangaroo Brands Inc., located at 7620 N. 81st St., has seen double-digit growth. The company has added 70 employees since last fall, and plans to convert another 30 to 40 temporary positions to full-time.
By next year, the 55,000-square-foot plant that Kangaroo Brands has occupied since 1985, will reach capacity, said Salem Kashou, president of Kangaroo Brands, Inc.
Kashou is looking for a second, 75,000- to 100,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, which will be used in addition to its current facility.
“We looked at a couple of options, but it didn’t work out, so now we’re looking at existing buildings and we’re considering (constructing a new) building. All options are on the table,” Kashou said, adding that he would like to stay in the city of Milwaukee.
“It’s a city we are all from, and we like having a bus route,” Kashou said. “The priority is the city, but we won’t leave southeastern Wisconsin.”
Kangaroo Brands was established by brothers John and George Kashou in 1979. In 2012, the company sold the Kangaroo Brand Trademark and the pita chip division to Omaha, Neb.-based ConAgra Foods Inc., for an undisclosed price. The deal included the company's pita chip plant at 8222 N. Granville Woods Road on Milwaukee's northwest side.
That year, Kangaroo introduced Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin, which are sold nationwide to grocery stores, schools and private label customers.
Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin partners with Wisconsin companies to use local meats and cheeses to make more than a dozen varieties of handheld sandwiches. The company has become one of the fastest-growing retail sandwich brands in the United States.
“We have done far better than expected,” Salem Kashou said.
Kashou, 39, grew up in the family business and worked across all departments of the organization, most recently as chief operations officer, before taking over as president in July.
“I’ve been trying to take it all in and remember all of the lessons taught to me by my father and uncle,” Kashou said. “Those things are ringing truer now. I try to pick my battles, try to be firm but fair and make my decisions based on policy versus the entrepreneurial spirit that has always been woven through our decision making when we were a smaller, younger company.”