The Dunn Family, longtime owners of P. Graham Dunn Inc., announce the sale of the Dalton, Ohio-based company to its employees in the form of an employee stock ownership program (ESOP). All 300 employees will remain with the company and eligible employees will become owners. The announcement was made on September 3.
“An ESOP is our best tool for transitioning P. Graham Dunn from one generation of leadership to the next,” says Peter Dunn, founder and long-time CEO. “The first two employees LeAnna (co-founder and wife of Peter) and I hired, Carol Curie and Robert Shetler, are still with us after 42 years. An outright sale of the company to a competitor would highly jeopardize fellow workers that have been with us for decades.
“An ESOP assures a secure future and a continuation of our values for those that have shown dedication and loyalty to us,” Dunn elaborates. “Our ongoing management team representing 133 years of employee experience will be augmented with outside skilled leadership on our board of directors.”
The company will retain its familiar name and be directed by an experienced team of leaders. Patrick Helmuth is the newly appointed CEO. Joe Knutson will continue serving as company president. Additional management will consist of Robert Shetler, longtime VP of manufacturing; Franklin Geiser, VP of technology; Andy Yost, VP of sales; and Anthony Burdette, VP of marketing and product development, all continuing in their current roles. Peter Dunn will continue to contribute to product development and operations, lending his expertise as an advisor to the new employee-owned company.
“Peter Dunn, our owner and founder, has dedicated much of his life to serving the gift industry and wishes that the business will be around for years to come,” states Knutson. “He and his family determined that this would be the best path for succession —putting the company in the hands of the employees.”
P. Graham Dunn will continue to manufacture art, gifts, and home décor from the heart of Amish Country.
“On behalf of the employees, I want to thank the Dunn family for giving us this opportunity to keep the business locally owned,” says Helmuth. “Our retailer customers should experience the same excellent service from our customer service team and our sales and marketing partner —OneCoast.”
While the company operates its factory, warehouse, and retail presence in Dalton, Ohio, it displays products in OneCoast showrooms in Atlanta and Dallas, and operates its own showroom in Las Vegas. P. Graham Dunn also operates retail stores in Walnut Creek, Ohio and Grandville, Michigan, and has several retailers that carry its products.
To learn more, visit pgrahamdunn.com.