Banking & Finance and Small Business & Startups

Private equity firm invests in printing supplier

February 12, 2018
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Bob Willmes
Bob Willmes. Courtesy Blackford Capital

A local private equity firm has invested in an out-of-state wholesale distributor of aftermarket printing supplies.

Grand Rapids-based Blackford Capital said today it invested in Reno, Nevada-based Online Tech Stores, or OTS.

OTS, which does business as Supplies Wholesalers, distributes imaging supplies and accessories, including laser printer toner cartridges, ink cartridges, toner, copier toner, ribbons, thermal fax consumables and other products.

OTS employs more than 100 people and operates in five facilities.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Debt financing was provided by Fifth Third Bank, with support from syndicate partners Union Bank and Zions Bank, as well as OFS Capital Corporation.

Corporate Finance Associates represented OTS in the transaction.

Bob Willmes, founder and CEO of OTS, said he believes the investment will help his company grow.

“Blackford brings a tremendous amount of industry experience to the table, in addition to their strategic, financial and operational experience,” Willmes said. “While we’ve seen significant growth in the past several years, we believe this partnership will enable OTS to add products and capabilities to continue to best meet the needs of our growing customer base.”

Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital, said OTS has achieved “remarkable growth” since opening.

“By partnering with CEO Bob Willmes — a seasoned industry veteran who has made three previous successful business exits — and the experienced management team at OTS, we are confident that we can build upon OTS’ legacy as a leader in the aftermarket imaging supplies market,” Stein said.

Blackford Capital has prior experience in the imaging supplies industry, having previously invested in Quality Imaging Products, Rhinotek and Bond Street.

OTS is the 12th portfolio company in which Blackford Capital has invested.

Blackford Capital

Established in 2000, Blackford Capital acquires, manages and builds family owned, lower middle-market manufacturing, distribution and service companies.

Blackford was recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies in the “Inc. 5000” in 2016 and 2017.

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