Graphic Edge, the company that bought Keith’s II, has itself been bought by a larger firm.
The Florida-based Trivest Partners announced this week that its affiliate, ASB Sports, had bought Graphic Edge, which has custom screen-printing facilities in Rutland, Iowa and Las Vegas.
“It means nothing but good things for our area,” said Steve Seneral, general manager of the Vermont branch. “We’re not going anywhere. ... We intend to grow and add jobs.”
The Rutland facility moved from the former armory on West Street to a Seward Road facility, where it employs 45 people, in 2017. Keith’s II had moved to the armory from Pittsford in 2013.
Graphic Edge was founded in Iowa in 1989. It bought Keith’s II in 2014, which allowed each company to access the other’s regional market. A similar expansion took place in 2017 when Graphic Edge bought the Las Vegas-based Jock Shop. Now the Graphic Edge is the latest in a series of acquisitions by ASB, which bought three similar companies last year.
“They’re in a phase of what I’d call gathering a critical mass of volume and talent,” Graphic Edge CEO Bill Schenkelberg said. “This industry is really going through quite a bit of consolidation right now. The management team felt this was the best move to keep us competitive.”
Schenkelberg said the consolidation should not trigger any layoffs — pointing out that as CEO of the acquired company, his job would likely be one of the first on the chopping block.
“At this point, everybody’s job is safe,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll see some departments’ duties change a little bit, or their chain of command ... but no layoffs are anticipated.”
Brennan Duffy, executive director of the Rutland Redevelopment Authority, said he was not concerned about the sale because it appeared to follow a familiar pattern.
“If you recall, Graphic Edge acquired Keith’s II — they were an out-of-town group that bought a smaller local business and kept the jobs and actually grew the business,” he said.
Calls to Trivest, which describes itself as “a private investment firm that focuses on partnering with founder/family-owned businesses in the United States and Canada,” were not immediately returned Wednesday.