Grand Rapids’ Blackford Capital Acquires Starfire Direct in California

Blackford Capital, a lower middle market private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, has acquired Starfire Direct, a California direct-to-consumer company in the hearth and patio sector. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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Starfire Direct’s Copper Spartan Gas Fire Pit. // Courtesy of Starfire Direct
Starfire Direct’s Copper Spartan Gas Fire Pit. // Courtesy of Starfire Direct

Blackford Capital, a lower middle market private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, has acquired Starfire Direct, a California direct-to-consumer company in the hearth and patio sector. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Starfire Direct joins Blackford Capital’s Patio Consolidation portfolio, which is envisioned to be an asset-light, multi-product, omni channel platform offering products within the home outdoor space.

The acquisition of Starfire Direct is the first part of a multi-phase plan to consolidate several participants in this space and create a business that will deliver hyper-growth through significant synergies and create a competitive advantage over time.

With this acquisition, Blackford is a participant in the new “the backyard is the new room in your home” trend, furthering the company’s experience in the digital, direct-to-consumer marketplace.

“We are excited to welcome Starfire Direct as the first company in our Patio Consolidation portfolio,” says Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. “CEO Jonathan Burlingham and his team have done an impressive job growing the Starfire family of brands since its founding in 2007.

“With industry-leading products and a loyal and growing customer base, this platform is well positioned for organic and inorganic growth through product development, enhanced sourcing and marketing and synergistic acquisitions, which we are already actively pursuing.”

The Starfire Direct management team, led by Burlingham and COO Wes Chyrchel, will remain with the platform following the acquisition. Supported by Blackford’s operating partners, Starfire’s expanded leadership team will work together to modernize internal operations, accelerate direct-to-consumer sales, improve the customer experience, and help guide future growth and value creation for its investors.

“For over 15 years, reinventing outdoor living has been at the heart of the products and services we bring to the hearth and patio market,” Burlingham says. “I can think of no finer way to truly embrace these words than by partnering with the team at Blackford Capital to push the boundaries of marketing, product sourcing, and distribution in ways I’ve always known were possible; but had yet to realize.”

Stein adds: “Starfire Direct is a solid foundation for our Patio Consolidation portfolio as well as a catalyst for growth, and the Blackford Capital team has the talent to help Starfire knock this out of the park.

“As the remote workforce continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels, we see the home outdoor sector continuing to expand as consumers focus on building and improving comfortable and engaging backyard and home experiences.”

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