Los Angeles, California-based distributor BAMKO (PPAI 242148, D11), a division of the Superior Group of Companies, has acquired substantively all the assets of Norcross, Georgia, distributor Guardian Products (PPAI 280964, D9). The transaction closed effective as of May 1.

Background: Guardian Products generated approximately $23 million in revenue over the past 12 months and has built its business providing promotional products to automotive dealers nationwide. A strategic acquisition for BAMKO, the acquisition of Guardian is expected to be immediately accretive and is seen as a natural extension of its December 2021 acquisition of Sutter’s Mill Specialties, which is also focused on the automotive dealer space.

“The acquisition of Guardian is a great fit for our expanding business,” says Jake Himelstein, president of BAMKO. “Our December acquisition of Sutter’s Mill and its production and decoration capabilities created a unique synergistic opportunity that we were eager to seize upon. With the addition of Guardian, we can further leverage the Sutter’s Mill infrastructure to immediately become the dominant player in the automotive dealer space.

“We see this as a tremendous growth opportunity and expect significant sales opportunities to result from our unique ability to provide uniform solutions for Guardian’s existing and future customer base.”

The acquisition delivers holistic benefits to BAMKO. Sutter’s Mill has the decoration and production capabilities, while Guardian has the sales network and customer base. Essentially, from BAMKO’s perspective, each of the acquisitions becomes more attractive by virtue of doing both of them—the whole is substantially greater than the sum of the individual parts.

  • The acquisition allows BAMKO to advance some of its technology objectives for Sutter’s Mill.
  • BAMKO can invest more into Sutter’s Mill’s production, decoration and distribution infrastructure.
  • Guardian becomes more appealing to its existing and prospective customers because production and decoration is now in-house.

The deal is the latest acquisition for BAMKO. Prior to the Sutter’s Mill acquisition, In February 2021, it acquired the assets of Seattle-based distributor Gifts By Design, Inc. In late 2019, BAMKO expanded its footprint into Texas with the formation of a strategic partnership with Dallas-based distributor Lapgevity. BAMKO’s parent company, Superior Group of Companies, also operates in the promotional market through subsidiaries Tangerine Promotions, Ltd. and Public Identify, Inc.

In Their Words:
Himelstein adds, “our first and most important focus always is on culture fit. The Wise family has built a culture at Guardian that we greatly admire. It is one of trust, positivity and a lightness of spirit that meshes well with our own. We’re honored with the confidence that they have placed in us to help them continue that legacy and are thrilled to welcome them into our BAMKO family.”

Neil Wise, Sr., founder and president of Guardian Products, says, “We knew right away that BAMKO was different. BAMKO approached this entire process with a thoughtfulness, enthusiasm, cooperative spirit, and authenticity that got us excited about building a future together. The more we learned about the vision that the BAMKO team has for the future of this industry and the incredible business that they’ve already built, the more apparent it became that this was a special opportunity for our team that we simply could not pass up.

“This deal will secure the long-term future of Guardian Products and create opportunities for our people that are bigger and better than any they’ve ever known. We can’t wait to get started.”

Speaking to Newslink, Himelstein says, “We are so excited to bring these two cultures together and continue building something special here. The Wise family has built a great company and they have honored us by placing their trust in us to preserve and enhance that legacy. We intend to do so.

“We are really fired up about this opportunity and what it means for the future. BAMKO, Sutter’s Mill, and Guardian became a lot better today. We’re going to give the folks at Guardian access to tools that we’ve invested millions to develop that will supercharge their growth. By joining forces, we’ll be able to accelerate our technology and infrastructure investment timeline and further press the advantage we’ve created through BAMKO’s technological superiority.”