Champion Awards Inc., a distributor and fulfillment service for several Memphis-based businesses looking for awards, apparel, and promotional products, was renamed Champion Promotion after being acquired by Toof American Digital Printing. The company was acquired from the estate of founder Mike Bowen and his family, following the unexpected passing of Bowen in February.
Although the acquisition became official in April, it has been in the works since early fall 2018, according to Stilly McFadden, president of Toof American Digital. Bowen was interested in selling his majority ownership position in order to retire and hired a local firm to assist him in finding a buyer. McFadden explains that Toof was approached in September and negotiations lasted about two months. The sale closed in February and was announced in March.
“Mike’s tragic passing came at the very end of a deal we’ve been working on since last September,” McFadden states. “Mike and his wife Suzie did a great job taking the company more into brand promotion, and Toof’s customer base offers many opportunities to take it to the next level.” McFadden goes on to say the new relationships brings financial stability to Champion as well provides capital for equipment and system upgrades.
In addition, Toof’s sales force has added the Champion line of apparel, awards, and more to its product offering. “Toof does business with companies all over the USA, so we hope this will give Champion a lot more exposure to the market,” says McFadden.
Toof American Digital Printing, which was founded in 1874, is reportedly the oldest and largest commercial printing company in the mid-South. Throughout the U.S., it offers sheetfed, web and digital printing, direct mail, and warehouse fulfillment services.
Since the 1970s, Champion has provided the Memphis area with screen-printed apparel, promotions, and awards for schools, businesses, and other organizations, along with offering fulfillment services for several businesses. The 50 people it employs will continue to operate from its 50,000-square-foot facility on Winplace Drive, despite the other changes taking place.
Champion Promotion also hired Lee R. Marshall as its new president and Steve Hergenrader as vice president of finance. Additionally, current employees and investors Brandon Conners and Jay Martin, Jr. were promoted to chief operations officer and executive vice president of brand promotion.
“We see this as a partnership opportunity increasing the broad range of services and products we currently offer to our traditional print customers, as well as offering our services to Champion Promotion’s customers,” says McFadden.
Customers can expect the same customer service, faster turnover times, and potentially some new state-of-the-art equipment, especially in the area of short-run apparel, according to McFadden.
A new website for Champion is currently under construction.