Tropitone Furniture gets new owner

Michael Echolds will continue as CEO

Deerfield, Ill.-based Pfingsten Partners has become majority owner of Tropitone Furniture, which began looking last spring for an institutional owner to provide access to expanded financial resources to accelerate the casual furniture maker’s future growth plans.
The financial strength and operational expertise Pfingsten will provide are key to Tropitone’s continued growth, according to Michael Echolds, who remains a significant shareholder and will continue to serve as Tropitone’s chief executive officer. 
“When Tropitone made the decision earlier this year to seek an institutional investor, a major priority was finding a partner that would build on the company’s more than 50-year legacy of offering our customers stylish, yet practical furniture, as well as exceptional customer service,” Echolds said. “Pfingsten is partnering with Tropitone to continue this legacy while also providing a broad array of additional resources – both financial and non-financial — which will serve as a springboard for our future success in the market.  
“As a well-respected private equity firm with a proven track record, Pfingsten also shares with Tropitone such core organizational values as hard work, high ethical standards and a commitment to exceptional customer care,” Echolds said. “These shared values provide a strong foundation for us to build on as we partner with Pfingsten to fine-tune and strengthen our operations and expand our competitive presence and leadership in the casual furniture market.”
According to James J. Norton, managing director, Pfingsten Partners L.L.C., “Tropitone is well positioned in a growing industry with a broad customer base. We believe that in partnership with management, we can leverage that foundation and the company’s strong brand recognition into multiple avenues of new growth. This is a solid platform acquisition with the potential to become the leader in high-end outdoor furniture,” Norton said.
The Baker family founded Tropitone in 1954, and Doug Baker, along with Angella Baker, has been the principal shareholder since 1992.  Doug Baker said the company has accomplished much over the years and he believes is well-positioned to achieve even more in the years ahead.
“My family and I are very proud of all that Tropitone has accomplished over the years as an award-winning designer and manufacturer of casual furniture that is as practical as it is stylish,” Baker said. “The leadership and commitment of the company’s management team and employees as well as the loyalty of our sales representatives and customers all have been critical to this success.  As the company moves forward with Pfingsten Partners as its new owner, the Baker family is excited for the expanded opportunities Tropitone will have to build on its legacy and to further establish itself as a leader in the casual furniture industry.”
The transaction closed effective as of Oct. 24. Financial terms were not disclosed.
According to Ron Kahn, managing director at Chicago-based Lincoln International, which served as Tropitone’s financial advisor for the transaction, Tropitone’s partnership with Pfingsten Partners will serve to strengthen and accelerate the company’s growth strategy. “Our process generated substantial interest in the company, and Lincoln is excited to have played a role in establishing this partnership,” Kahn said. “Tropitone is a unique company with strong growth prospects, and its alliance with Pfingsten Partners will enhance the company’s industry leadership and facilitate its future growth. Pfingsten is a high-caliber firm, which we firmly believe shares a common vision with the company and possesses a strong cultural fit with Tropitone’s management team.”

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