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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Bamco Takes Another Step Into Car World

Bamko’s one-two punch strategy to dominate the automotive promotional product market materialized last week with the acquisition of Guardian Products Inc. in Georgia.
The deal, completed on undisclosed financial terms, follows the Sawtelle-based branded merchandise maker’s December purchase of Sutter’s Mill Specialties in Arizona, which offers complementary services.

“We look at Guardian as a bolt-on, sort of Phase 2 of the Sutter’s Mill acquisition, and a really unique opportunity for us to make each (deal) more valuable and more effective than it would have been on its own,” said Joshua White, Bamko’s head of strategy.
Sutter’s Mill has “a ton of cutting-edge, high-end in-house production capabilities,” White added, while Guardian is “a very effective sales organization” in the national car dealers space, but had to outsource production.

“These two companies were working in the same space … And we were able to bring them in together, to play matchmaker,” he said.
Philip Koosed and Brett Marz co-founded Bamko in 1999. The company has more than 500 employees who specialize in sourcing and manufacturing branded merchandise – items given away to promote a business or activity, as well as items with logos that are sold at retail.

“(For example, if) you go into a Dunkin Donuts and see a mug or a tumbler or any sort of drinkware with their logo on it, it’s very likely that we have designed, sourced and manufactured it,” White said.
Florida-based Superior Group of Cos. bought Bamko in 2016 for $15.8 million in cash plus $5.5 million in shares. At the time, Bamko generated about $31 million in revenue. Last year, Bamko’s its sales totaled $215 million.

“We’ve grown really substantially in the last five to six years,” White said, adding that with $65 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2022, the company is “on pace to exceed (2021) numbers.”
Guardian is Bamko’s fifth acquisition since it became a division of Superior. The first deal brought Boyle Heights-based Public Identity Inc. into the fold, followed by Chicago-based Tangerine Promotions, both completed in 2017.

Last year Bamko acquired Gifts by Design Inc., a Seattle-based developer and supplier of corporate awards and incentives, after noticing “a huge growth in the employee gifting and recognition space, particularly with so many people working from home,” White said. “All of our customers were buying (merchandise for their employees) but not all of them were buying from us, and so we wanted to acquire that high-end capability and be able to provide a better solution to our existing customer base.”

Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez graduated from Los Angeles Valley College, then transferred to University of California, and now serves as a Receptionist and Office Assistant to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Paola wears many hats in different departments and is trilingual in English, Spanish and French.

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