Colony Hardware Corporation
Bringing Excellence to the Ordinary
In July 2007, AEA Small Business Private Equity (“SBPE”) partnered with Colony Hardware Corporation (“Colony”), a leading route-based specialty distributor of safety equipment, power tools and other consumables to multiple trades of contractors. By building a unique culture that enabled its differentiated service capability, Colony’s ability to save its customers time and money was unmatched by competitors, priming the company for transformative growth.
AEA SBPE recognized Colony had built a sustainable competitive advantage that could be expanded well beyond its 2-location New England footprint with its unique hub-and-spoke, route-based fulfillment model. The Colony founders partnered with AEA SBPE to fuel organic growth and capitalize on several attractive strategic acquisitions. Despite being hit with the Great Recession immediately after making the investment, the power of the Colony model enabled multi-regional acquisition and greenfield expansion. Under AEA SBPE’s ownership, Colony substantially expanded its geographic footprint in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Upper Midwest regions fueled by organic growth, the completion of six acquisitions and opening of two greenfield branches, taking the company from two to ten locations. AEA SBPE also worked with management to develop an e-commerce and digital expansion strategy which successfully generated incremental sales volume. Colony supported this growth by building out a new central distribution center in Orange, Connecticut.
Highly complementary and accretive acquisitions, including the first acquisitions ever made by Colony
New locations opened under AEA SBF ownership
AEA SBPE participant board members who provided strategic thought leadership to accelerate both organic and inorganic growth
Invested in two new industry leading ‘Hub’ distribution and fulfillment centers in the Northeast and Midwest
“We realized we had created a unique solution that commercial contractors were demanding in more locations but we didn’t have the capital or experience to begin a regional or national roll-out. AEA SBF partnered with us and brought capital, extensive distribution experience, access to board members who had built national platforms and the encouragement to invest heavily through the recession to execute our plan.”