Kansas-based supplier Stouse Inc. ended 2015 with big news, announcing a partnership with Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison Incorporated (GHJ&M) to recapitalize the company for future growth.
“The owners were interested in selling,” Stouse Director of Sales and Marketing Michael Stoeck tells A&E magazine. “Rather than just putting a real estate sign out front, they partnered with an investment firm to help find potential suitors. (The firm) came through with what’s good for the business.”
Both nearing retirement, owners Barry Reed and William Lewis sought equity referred to as a Trailhead Fund—capital for investment in businesses that have shown great growth patterns, Stoeck explains. However, Stouse’s decision to partner with GHJ&M was not based solely on numbers, he adds. “The owners wanted to find someone who had the same philosophies. It was a combination of their offer to purchase as well as their philosophy of how to run the business.”
Reed says, "The entire Stouse team is excited about our new association with GHJ&M and the opportunities this partnership will bring. We look forward to utilizing the resources of our new partner to further invest in our business and better serve our customers with best-in-class quality printed products." He adds, "Going forward, we want to reassure our customers that this transition has been well thought out and will involve no changes to your relationship with Stouse. Aside from the minor name change from Stouse Inc. to Stouse LLC (for tax and legal purposes) nothing else will change."
The investment, Stoeck reiterates, will not affect change for customers on a day-to-day basis. “What is going to be changing is simply asking, ‘What can we do better?’ It’s a renewed focus on the business,” he says. “They’re interested in, ‘How are we going to grow this?’ Their desire to move forward, their risk appetite, and their desire for growth might be greater than that of the previous owners, who grew a very successful business. (GHJ&M) asks, ‘Where are the hot fires? Let’s shovel the coal.’”