SBJ Builds Uniform Giant with Buy of Mills

SBJ Builds Uniform Giant with Buy of Mills

SBJ acquired Dennis in 2017, and the buy of Mills creates a leader in the school uniform sector

Mills products include shirts, blouses, polos, dresses, skirts, sweaters, and blazers

SOURCE: Getty Images

DENNIS Uniform, a portfolio company of SBJ Capital, has acquired Mills Uniform Company, a school uniform manufacturer.

Mills Uniform serves over 125 private schools in the United States from its seven retail stores in California, Texas, Georgia and Tennessee and through its online store. The company’s products include shirts, blouses, polos, dresses, sweaters, blazers, pants, shorts, skirts, ties, socks, tights and belts. Mills Uniform was founded by Sue Mills in 1947.

“I’ve known and respected the team at DENNIS and their excellent operation for many years,” said Suzette Mills, the owner of Mills Uniform and granddaughter of the founder. “All of us at Mills are looking forward to strengthening our service offering and we’re already seeing positive results from sharing knowledge with our expanded uniform ‘brain trust.’ I look forward to continuing to deliver great service and products to our schools and their families for years to come.”

Post-closing, Suzette Mills will continue as a board member, shareholder and executive at the combined business.

DENNIS is a designer and manufacturer of school uniforms – including polos, khakis, shorts, and skirts – that serves over 2,000 schools and 370,000 students per year through its website and through a national network of more than 30 retail locations operating in 20 states. The company, led by CEO Gary Serra, is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Dennis, founded in 1920 by the Shipley Family, first produced nursing uniforms, then supplied apparel and linens to soldiers shipping out of Portland during World War II.

“We have admired and respected Suzette and her team at Mills for many years,” said Mr. Serra. “It goes without saying, but it has always been our belief that DENNIS and Mills were meant to partner as one given our similar standards, geographic crossover and a shared belief in making school uniforms easy.”

SBJ, in partnership with the founding Shipley Family, acquired DENNIS in November 2017. “The combination of DENNIS and Mills further solidifies our platform as the leader in the school uniform industry,” said Patrick Muller, a vice president at SBJ. “The company has now grown revenue more than 60% since our initial partnership with DENNIS. This growth has allowed us to continually reinvest in systems and people to help achieve our collective goal of providing schools and parents with the best possible uniform experience.”

SBJ invests from $10 million to $50 million in consumer, business services and healthcare services companies that have up to $100 million in revenue and EBITDA from $3 million to $15 million. In October 2015, SBJ held a final closing on its debut fund, SBJ Fund LP, with total capital commitments of $204 million, exceeding its original $150 million target. SBJ now has approximately $400 million of capital under management. SBJ was founded by Gus Spanos, Tom Barber and Bill Jesse and has offices near San Francisco in Walnut Creek, California.

© 2022 Private Equity Professional | March 29, 2022

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