Outdoor power equipment maker Ariens Company signed an agreement to acquire three specialty direct marketing brands - Gempler's, Ben Meadows, and AW Direct - from W. W. Grainger, Inc. The agreement is expected to close on Jan. 1, 2014.
"As we grow the distribution side of the business these companies represent strong niche segments that fit nicely with our current portfolio of outdoor brands," says Dan Ariens, company President and CEO. "This acquisition allows us to build a more diverse distribution platform for the company that will ultimately help offset the inherent seasonality of some of the company's equipment products such as snow blowers."
The three brands are all direct marketing companies providing equipment and supplies to niche professional markets.
* Gempler's serves the agricultural, horticultural, grounds maintenance, and contractor markets.
* Ben Meadows serves the forestry, fire and rescue, resource management and grounds maintenance markets.
* AW Direct serves the towing and service vehicle markets.
Ariens Company will retain some of the management, customer service, and other employees currently working for the three companies. It will also maintain Wisconsin offices in Madison and Janesville where the positions are currently located. The company will continue to distribute Gempler's, Ben Meadows, and AW Direct products from the current distribution center located in Janesville, WI.
The brands will be operated as a single entity under a newly formed Specialty Brands Group, which also includes after-market equipment parts supplier Stens and commercial landscaper parts supplier J. Thomas.
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