Fund Makes Its First Acquisition
Formed in connection with The Right Place Inc.,
The fund, managed by John Meilner and Bill Kaczynski, was seeking companies in the $5 million to $50 million range that had a capable management team in place, were cash-flow positive and profitable, were located within the
The ideal scenario for the fund, Meilner explained, would be a family-owned company in which ownership was seeking to exit the company, with hopes of selling to management — and although management was well compensated, it still didn't have the necessary capital.
"We're looking at entrepreneurs and founders of companies who for reasons other than the business, such as retirement or health, are seeking to sell," Meilner told the Business Journal in April.
"Many owners thought about selling in the late '90s," Meilner said, "but times were good. They were growing, profitable. But the last couple of years have not been nearly as much fun, and some of the folks are just flat-out tired. We want to be a solution to that business owner."
In Jacob Ash, Meilner found a company that fit that model to a tee.
Based just outside of
Sixty percent of its sales are private label, while 40 percent of sales are under its brand names, including Hot Shot and Rhino.
The company is over 70 years old and in its third generation of family ownership, but the family has had no involvement with running the company for nearly a decade.
During Meilner's marketing efforts, he met with advisers for the Jacob Ash family.
"I was just telling people the
Meilner first began talks with Jacob Ash — one of more than
"This is just right in there on all counts; even the situation of the family looking for an exit," Meilner said.
"We were introduced to the management team and they were a very talented group, and we were thrilled to partner with them. Everything just fit together perfectly. We expect the company to grow very rapidly and aggressively over the next few years."
Bridge Street is now making plans with management on how best to utilize the company's resources to facilitate growth. The company's operations will remain in
"The nature of the business is that we cannot limit ourselves to
When he closed the acquisition, Meilner was able to reach