CINCINNATI -- Gold Star Chili has purchased Tom + Chee, merging a pair of Cincinnati comfort food staples and saving the erstwhile grilled cheese chain from a financial tailspin, Gold Star Chili CEO Roger David confirmed.
The deal was finalized Sept. 20, David said.
Tom + Chee, which began in a tent on Fountain Square and quickly expanded following a successful May 2013 "Shark Tank" appearance, had been experiencing financial problems and closed several of the locations that accompanied the initial growth spurt.
Like many start-ups, David said, the company grew very rapidly, and "ended up in a position there they needed to borrow funds to drive growth." They found themselves in a "tight spot."
"The lender had to kind of you know, seize their assets," he said. Gold Star "worked with the lender to get them back on track."
David said Tom + Chee founders Trew Quackenbush and Corey Ward would remain involved in the business's future.