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Lemonis invests in snack maker Betty Lou’s

Chicago businessman Marcus Lemonis has bought a minority stake in Betty Lou’s Inc., a maker of healthy snacks and gluten-free products.

Betty Lou’s sells organic, natural snacks and gluten-free crackers under its own name and makes products sold under other brand names. Founder Betty Lou Carrier has grown the business from her kitchen table to two production plants — one of them dedicated to gluten-free products — over the past 30 years. The McMinnville, Oregon, company employs about 250 people.

“The company has great management. It just needs to sell more of its own products,” Lemonis said Wednesday. “It lacks a real push for the Betty Lou’s brand.”

Betty Lou’s brand products can be more profitable than the private-label products, which generally have smaller profit margins.

“This partnership gives us access to the additional resources needed to take the company’s development to the next level,” Carrier said in a news release. “We will now be better equipped to give our customers a faster turn-around through receiving assistance with elements such as regulation, marketing, package designs and most importantly sales.”

Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Lemonis said the investment in Betty Lou’s is not related to Crumbs Bake Shop or his CNBC show, The Profit. He also owns gluten-free restaurant and bakery Sophie’s Great Food, which has locations in Evanston and Highland Park.

Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Lincolnshire-based Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises, resurrected the Crumbs Bake Shop chain this fall. Lemonis and Fischer Enterprises LLC, the owner of Dippin’ Dots ice cream, bought the specialty cupcake business out of bankruptcy court in August and started reopening shops in October, including one at Chicago’s Water Tower Place.