Local News

August 11, 2010

A&M Beverages to be sold

MALONE -- A&M Beverages in Malone is being sold, but its 30 employees won't know for a while if they will keep their jobs.

Saratoga Eagle, a subsidiary of Try-It Distributing Co. of Buffalo, is acquiring the beverage-distribution business, but the sale has not been finalized, said Saratoga Eagle President Jeff Vukelic.

"We're in negotiations for the purchase of the business, but I can't comment any further than that because it's not complete."

A&M Beverages was owned by Jeffrey Abbott, who was also the company president. His wife, Janine, was vice president of the firm, which has been in business here since 1963.

But Mr. Abbott's sudden death in July 2009 and Mrs. Abbott's death just five months later put ownership and the future of the company in flux.

The Abbotts are survived by a daughter, Kimberly, and a son, William.

Kimberly Abbott has been running the Malone company since her mother's death.

Also among the survivors is Janine Abbott's mother, Janet (Smith) Johnson, who reportedly became executrix of the family's affairs when Janine died.

The parties involved are under a gag order not to discuss details of the pending sale.

Kimberly Abbott declined to comment, citing the gag order. But several people with knowledge of the situation say there is a dispute over control of A&M because the Abbott children oppose the impending sale of the business, which was founded by their father's family generations ago.

Saratoga Eagle bought Ruch Distributors Inc. in Albany in April and had purchased Northern Distributors of Queensbury in 2005.

It is building a $3 million, 30,000-square-foot addition to its $14 million, 120,000-square-foot facility in Saratoga Springs. The company is expected to spend another $2 million to add to its fleet of delivery trucks there.

Of the 51 Ruch employees impacted by the acquisition, 34 were hired by Saratoga Eagle.

The company distributes Anheuser-Busch and Labatt's beer, as well as soft drinks and energy drinks, in Essex, Hamilton, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and Washington counties.

E-mail Denise A. Raymo at:

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