Will Poultry Co., the venerable Buffalo wholesale food distributor whose roots date back from before the Depression, is changing owners.
The business has been sold to a group of local investors and expects to continue its operations virtually unchanged.
“The transition is going to be as seamless as possible,” said Donald E. Will, the company’s CEO and owner. “It’s going to keep the same name, same location, same building. Suppliers and customers won’t know the difference.”
Will declined to identify the new owners or disclose the amount of the sale.
The sale will be completed Dec. 28, he said, and the company’s 113 employees most likely will keep their jobs.
Although the company filed a notice with the state Labor Department that it would be closing and eliminating all of its jobs, Will said, the filing was a formality required by state law, even though the firm’s workers are expected to stay on the job through the transition to new ownership.
“Obviously, the new owners will need employees,” Will said.
Will, whose father started the business in 1926, will also retain his position with the company.
“I’ll just continue doing what I’ve been doing,” he said. “I’ll be in the same office I’ve been in and have the same parking space; I’ll be here to assure everybody there’s no problem.”
The company, located at 1705 William St., began as a chicken slaughterhouse and operated as such until 1957, when it went into the food distribution business.
Will Poultry, which serves most of New York State along with parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania, sells about 8,000 items.
Will, 86, said that it was the right time to sell the company.
“I’m just getting a little older,” he said, “and I figure I sell the business while I’m still on top of the heap.”