White Rose Ventures funds soft pretzel maker and snowboard/ski manufacturer

Paula Wolf//November 17, 2022

White Rose Ventures funds soft pretzel maker and snowboard/ski manufacturer

Paula Wolf//November 17, 2022

Martin Fedorko, founder of White Rose Ventures. PHOTO PROVIDED

York-based White Rose Ventures announced that it invested $750,000 in two more businesses – one that makes soft pretzels and another that manufactures snowboards and skis – in the third quarter of 2022.

This expands the portfolio of the venture fund, founded in 2020, to nine Pennsylvania companies with a total investment of $3.93 million.

The Pretzel Co., formerly York City Pretzel Co., is a soft pretzel wholesaler and distributor that received $250,000 from White Rose.

“With customers all across the country,” a White Rose update said, The Pretzel Co. is “quickly becoming one of the top pretzel wholesalers” in the U.S.

The reason for the investment “starts with their story,” said White Rose managing partner Martin Fedorko.

The Pretzel Co. never intended to be an e-commerce pretzel company, he said, but COVID-19 caused a shift away from retail.

“At our peak in 2019, we were serving just over a hundred bars and restaurants throughout central Pennsylvania,” co-founder Philip Given said in the White Rose update.

“When it became clear that ‘normal’ operations were not returning to the food service industry in a way that would make our previous business model sustainable, we completely retooled our bakery and invested in technology partners, equipment and marketing to support our transition to becoming a fully digital business.”

Fedorko credited “extreme resilience” in taking advantage of this huge e-commerce opportunity.

Now The Pretzel Co. has a relationship with QVC shopping network, which is a great revenue generator, he said.

White Rose Ventures’ investment in the soft pretzel maker is to “help participate in the growth of their business,” Fedorko said. “We’re thrilled about it.”

The second company now being funded is Gilson Snow, a snowboard and ski manufacturer from Winfield, Union County, that was given $500,000.

Typically, White Rose invests in southeastern Pennsylvania businesses, he said, but was so impressed by Gilson, the largest producer of custom snowboards and skis in the country.

The manufacturer uses sustainably harvested state poplar, Fedorko said. “It’s such a great story for Pennsylvania” with everything being locally sourced.

On its website, Gilson describes its products as “100% designed and built in the Appalachian foothills, ridden and loved by riders in over 40 countries.”

“We are incredibly inspired by their journey thus far, and look forward to stewarding the growth of the company for years to come,” the White Rose update said.

Fedorko said the venture fund is very enamored of the company’s founder, Nick Gilson, and his team at Gilson Snow.

White Rose’s goal, he said, is a portfolio of 20 to 25 companies.

In addition to The Pretzel Co. and Gilson Snow, the other seven businesses in the portfolio so far are CyberconIQ, $1.03 million; Reflexion, $500,000; Naqi Logix, $200,000; Pledgelt, $200,000; Evermind, $250,000; ReturnLogic, $750,000; and TEAMology, $250,000.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer