Center Rock Capital Partners in Chicago, a private equity firm that also has an office in Bloomfield Hills, has acquired The Merit Distribution Group in South Carolina. Merit distributes paint sundries, flooring products, and related installation supplies.
Merit conducts its business under the brand names Lancaster and EJ Welch. It is the third platform investment in Center Rock’s inaugural investment vehicle Center Rock Capital Partners Fund I LP, which closed in September last year.
“The Merit team has worked hard to successfully enter new product categories and penetrate new territories,” says Mitch Jolley, CEO of Merit. “Center Rock’s team demonstrated a deep understanding of our company’s capabilities, product portfolio, and customer-centric culture. With Center Rock as our partner, we are eager to pursue further growth via organic initiatives and acquisitions.”
Merit distributes more than 30,000 products from about 600 manufacturers. The company serves more than 11,000 customers in the Americas, Australia, and Poland and has 10 distribution centers and 23 branch locations. It has warehousing, inventory management, and overnight and next-day fulfillment capabilities.
“Mitch and Merit’s management team have built a market leading and scalable platform in paint sundries and flooring products distribution,” says Ian Kirson, partner at Center Rock. “With an extensive geographic reach and sophisticated systems, Merit meets its customers’ critical supply chain needs more efficiently and effectively than its competitors.”
Center Rock is focused on building leading industrial companies in the lower middle market. It seeks industrial manufacturing, industrial services, and industrial distribution companies headquartered in North America.