Industry Leading Profitability
In 2011, AEA’s Middle Market Private Equity (“MMPE”) fund invested in At Home (formerly known as Garden Ridge), a big box specialty retailer of home décor products. The company operates warehouse format stores that provide a significantly more robust selection than its competition while offering a one-stop destination for home décor at a value price point.
AEA MMPE identified At Home as a unique operating model with a tremendous opportunity for geographic expansion in a large and highly fragmented home décor market. To help realize this growth potential, AEA MMPE brought on a high caliber leadership team led by CEO Lee Bird to prioritize growth initiatives, including successfully rebranding from Garden Ridge to At Home across the entire store fleet, developing a multi-pronged real estate strategy and process and investing in infrastructure to support an expanding footprint. AEA MMPE also supported strategic initiatives that further deepened and expanded consumer engagement — developing an Insider Perks loyalty program, investing in digital marketing and establishing an omnichannel offering to allow shoppers to shop online and pickup in store. With these efforts in place, At Home became one of the fastest growing retailers in America, more than quadrupling its store base from 47 at the time of AEA MMPE’s acquisition to nearly 220 by the end of 2020 and consistently driving strong same-store-sales growth. The company successfully went public in August 2016 under AEA MMPE ownership.
Rebranded to “At Home” to transform the consumer perception and expand reach
Quadrupled store base to realize substantial whitespace
States entered to become a leading national retailer
AEA Participant and Partner board members provided strategic thought leadership
“The team at AEA were phenomenal partners who saw the potential and vision in At Home when very few others did. They supported the significant transformation of the core business they had bought and helped us find the talent and resources to be able to turn the business into one of the leading specialty retailers in the country. I especially appreciated their focus on long term value which allowed us to make the investments we needed to be successful long after their exit.”