The Michaels Companies, Inc. announced on February 2nd that it had purchased Lamrite West, Inc. for $150 million dollars.
Lamrite West was founded in 1954 by the Catanzarite family, and remained privately held until the acquisition by Michaels Companies. The current CEO, Michael Catanzarite, was the son of company founder Pat Catanzarite. According to the announcement, Michael Catanzarite will continue as CEO of Lamrite West post-acquisition and will serve on the Michaels executive committee. Lamrite West will continue to operate out of its Ohio headquarters as “a distinct business within Michael’s” according to Michaels Companies’ press statement on the acquisition.
Youngsville, Ohio-based Lamrite West operates a 34 store craft chain in the Midwest named Pat Catan’s. There are Pat Catan’s stores in four states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
But many in the crafts industry are more familiar with another name under the Lamrite West umbrella: Darice. Under the Darice name, Lamrite wholesales and distributes a huge variety of craft supplies in a broad range of craft categories from jewelry to papercrafting. Through Darice, Lamrite West has shelf space in virtually every major crafts retailer in the United States. Whether these retailers will continue to purchase from a company owned by their major competitor is an interesting question. Huge amounts of shelf space in some craft categories could theoretically be up for grabs at retailers like Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, and other chains if those retailers decide to drop Darice because of Michaels buying Darice.
Michaels also gains better access to several top industry names with the acquisition of Darice. David Tutera has a licensed line with Darice, and Tim Holtz has a licensing agreement with the Core’dinations brand that Darice acquired several years back.
Although the acquisition included 34 store locations, the statements from Michaels seem focused on the wholesale aspects of the deal. Michaels has grown its store brands immensely in recent years, and Darice has the sourcing capability to expand that even further.
“The acquisition of Lamrite West represents a unique opportunity to add a business to the Michaels portfolio that will strategically enhance our private brand development capabilities, accelerate our direct sourcing initiatives, and strengthen our business-to-business capabilities,” said Chuck Rubin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As CEO of Lamrite West, Mike Catanzarite has built a strong leadership team and cultivated a pervasive culture of customer service. Together, we will serve our combined customer base better to help us achieve our long-term growth goals.”
“I have long admired the Michaels team, and with the full weight of Michaels resources, I know that our employees and customers will realize tangible benefits from this combination,” said Michael Catanzarite, Chief Executive Officer of Lamrite West.