Oakland-based Whiplash Merchandising Inc. specialized in processing consumer online orders, updating brands’ inventory and allowing them to view or change orders.
The move by Port Logistics reinforces the company’s shifting focus to direct-to-consumer and retail omnichannel fulfillment services.
“The transformation of our company has been a long time in the making,” Chief Executive Jeff Wolpov said. “As we’ve been watching the evolution of retail business … it became obvious to us about five or six years ago that the digital nature of business — the online business, the direct consumer ecommerce business — was extremely fast-growing. And since most of our business at that time was brick-and-mortar related, we saw that there was going to be a transformation. And so, we’ve been actively pivoting our business more toward the omnichannel.”
The company, which brought in about $300 million in revenue last year, according to Business Journal estimates, has some 3,000 employees. It operates 18 facilities totaling about 6.5 million square feet near major ports locally as well as in Washington, Georgia and New Jersey.
The former Port Logistics Group handles warehousing and distribution for national apparel and consumer goods retailers, including Macy’s Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., as well as the brick-and-mortar footprint for digital native brands such as Moda Operandi Inc., Goop Inc. and Betabrand.
The company’s transportation division picks up international cargo from ports and delivers it to its processing warehouses while its brokerage division can arrange transportation of goods via trucks or cargo trains to other locations.
It also provides value-added services such as placing clothes on hangers, retagging merchandise, fulfilling online orders and inventory management, and shipping directly to end users on behalf of retailers.
Port Logistics’ relationship with Whiplash kicked off about four years ago with a minority investment and a right to purchase the business.
Venture capital firm Austin Ventures provided backing for Bob Stull, who founded the company in 2008 in Houston through the acquisition of complementary firms based in New Jersey, Southern California and Seattle.
Austin Ventures sold the logistics provider in 2014 to Portland, Ore.-based Endeavour Capital and members of the management team. The company moved to the City of Industry in 2016.
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