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Really Good Stuff

Business Description

Really Good Stuff is a multi-channel marketer of innovative classroom products and teaching tools used primarily in grades K-8. Marketing through its print, digital, and social media channels, as well as its dedicated sales force, the company offers over 7,500 items, with a range of product categories that include classroom organizers and storage, teacher supplies and management tools, bulletin boards and posters and games and activities. With over 500 new products introduced annually, Really Good Stuff is the innovation leader in its markets.

Background

Jim Bennett and Jon Sonneborn, the founders and owners of Really Good Stuff, were seeking a partner who could accelerate their growth and gain greater access to financial and managerial resources. They wanted to maximize value while insuring their new partner shared their growth vision. Furthermore, Jim and Jon had just made significant investments in a new Midwest distribution facility, addition of key senior managers, increase their direct to school sales staff and entered the pre-K market. They wanted to ensure a return on these investments would be realized.

Solution

A private equity firm, Brentwood Associates, was identified as an ideal partner. They had recently purchased Excelligence and were looking for a strategic acquisition that complemented its capabilities. Excelligence is a multi-channel retailer of educational products, which are sold primarily to pre-K early childhood programs, preschools, PTAs, and consumers. It is perfectly synergistic with Really Good Stuff, summed up by Excelligence’s CEO, “Really Good Stuff represents a perfect archetype: strong brand equity, extremely loyal customers, complementary products and access to new market segments.”

CMM had been advising the Company since 2014 to assist the owners to consider their strategic options and prepare the management team for a transaction. For this transaction, CMM was the company’s exclusive financial advisor and managed and executed the process from start to finish. CMM also worked extensively with Excelligence’s and Brentwood’s due diligence teams for their quality of earnings, tax, HR, IT, real estate and insurance reviews.

Jim remains the CEO of Really Good Stuff and will continue to operate the business as an independent business within the Excelligence family, only now with the resources of Brentwood Associates, a private equity firm with over $1.4 billion of capital under management. With significant experience in both investing and brand building, Brentwood is a value-added partner with entrepreneurs building world-class companies.

Jim and Jon recognized the value of Brentwood’s capabilities, “The acquisition provides us with greater resources to serve teachers, schools, and school districts throughout the country.”