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Published in Small Business

PE-backed firm acquires two West Michigan industrial parts distributors

BY Wednesday, November 09, 2022 04:40pm

A pair of West Michigan distributors of construction and industrial supplies have been acquired by a leading direct-to-jobsite construction tools distributor specializing in commercial, industrial, mixed-use and infrastructure end markets.

Company officials announced today that B&L Bolt Inc., which has locations in Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, and Portage-based Slip-On Lock Nut LLC were acquired by Connecticut-based Colony Hardware Corp.

B&L Bolt and Slip-On Lock Nut were both acquired from their original founders by brothers Mark and Dave Vander Ploeg. The Vander Ploegs acquired B&L Bolt in 2009 and Slip-On Lock Nut in 2012.

Colony Hardware is a portfolio company of Boston-based Audax Private Equity and distributes construction materials and jobsite supplies. The deal marks Colony Hardware’s 11th acquisition since being acquired by Audax in 2018.

“B&L Bolt and Slip-On Lock Nut are leaders in the Michigan market and beyond. Their dedicated associates bring a reputation for providing quality customer service,” Colony Hardware CEO Tim Rash said in a statement. “Bringing B&L Bolt into the Colony family further reinforces our standing as the partner of choice for distribution business owners who desire to grow their legacy and help their valued employees prosper.”

Founded in 1986, B&L Bolt primarily serves electric and mechanical contractors and manufacturers with a specialization in cleanroom facilities. Slip-On Lock Nut was founded in 1985 and produces specialty nuts that can be positioned on threaded rods at any point and locked in place.

B&L CEO Dave Vander Ploeg said in a statement that joining with Colony Hardware “is a wonderful fit for our people and our company cultures dovetail nicely. We are well positioned to serve customers and expand our offering.”

B&L and Slip-On Lock Nut will operate under a parent holding company with management teams working in partnership. Dave Vander Ploeg will retain a stake in the company, while the combined platform will seek additional deals in the construction and industrial distribution space, according to an announcement. 

Audax executives say the deal will help further position Colony Hardware as “the direct-to-jobsite supplier of choice for contractors, and represents a compelling fit from a service perspective.”

Grand Rapids-based Calder Capital LLC served as the exclusive financial adviser to B&L and Slip-On Lock Nut, while Grand Rapids-based law firm Rhoades McKee PC served as legal counsel. Fredrikson & Byron P.A. served as legal adviser to Colony Hardware and Audax.

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