Incline Looks for Green at BFG Supply

Incline Equity Partners has acquired BFG Supply, a distributor of horticulture and lawn & garden products, from Tricor Pacific Capital.

BFG Supply sells both third-party and its own branded products – including containers, growing media, chemicals, fertilizer, seed and greenhouse equipment – to professional growers, lawn & garden centers, and other green industry participants across 23 states.

“With over 10,000 SKUs, BFG’s comprehensive product offering provides a differentiated, all-inclusive solution to the market,” said Tom Ritchie, a partner at Incline. “Additionally, BFG’s best-in-class ordering platform and market-leading customer service has led to recurring orders from longstanding customer relationships.  We are excited to partner with the BFG management team to support the company’s continued growth through geographic and product expansion as well as strategic add-on acquisitions.”

BFG Supply was founded in 1972 by John Gander and is headquartered east of Cleveland in Burton, Ohio. Cardinal Ventures acquired a controlling interest in the company in 2000 and in September 2010 BFG was acquired by Tricor Pacific with backing from PNC Financial Services.

BFG Supply has been very acquisitive over its history with the buys of numerous companies including Illinois-based J.G. Smith & Co. in 2002, Pennsylvania-based Brighton By-Products in 2003, Minnesota-based MDM Horticultural Supplies in 2006, Michigan-based Kalamazoo Co-op in 2007, Virginia-based Wetsel Inc. in 2011, and Michigan-based Commerce Corp. in 2013.

Today, BFG has more than 250 employees and operates 7 distribution facilities with a combined 632,000 square feet. According to the company, it is one of the three largest greenhouse, nursery, and lawn & garden distributors in the country.

“Incline has a proven track record of working with similar businesses to accelerate growth through investments in technology to streamline operations and further enhance customer service,” said Dave Daily, the president and CEO of BFG.  “Incline’s expertise is the perfect overlap with our strategic needs, and their approach to partnership aligned well with us culturally.  We are excited to work with the entire Incline team going forward.”

The buy of BFG is the second platform acquisition for Incline’s lower middle market fund, Incline Elevate Fund LP, which closed in July 2019 – after only two months of marketing – with $314 million of capital. This fund invests exclusively in companies that have enterprise values of $25 million to $100 million. In May 2019, Elevate made its first investment in Wholesale Supplies Plus, an Independence, Ohio-based value-added distributor of raw materials, supplies and packaging used in the production of soap, lotion, and cosmetics by professional crafters. Chicago-based Twin Brook Capital Partners provided the debt to back the buy of Wholesale Supplies Plus.

Pittsburgh-based Incline Equity Partners was formed in 2011 and is led by its senior partners, Jack Glover, Justin Bertram and Leon Rubinov.

Tricor Pacific is a family office that makes control investments in Western Canada or Western US-based companies with EBITDA of $2 million to $6 million that are active in light manufacturing, and business and consumer services. The firm was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Vancouver.

© 2020 Private Equity Professional | February 6, 2020

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