West Bend-based online hauling and transportation products retailer Discount Ramps LLC has acquired Kewaskum-based aluminum ramp manufacturer Heavy Duty Ramps LLC from founder Richard Beilstein for an undisclosed price. The transaction closed May 1.
Discount Ramps is a portfolio company of Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm Rotunda Capital Partners, which purchased the majority ownership from Milwaukee investment bank Emory & Co. in December 2013. The company has about 60 employees.
Discount Ramps operates discountramps.com, a website that sells more than 11,000 ramp, loading and transport products. The company has grown significantly, and invested nearly $900,000 in expanding its facility in 2011 with the help of a $50,000 loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
“Heavy Duty Ramps has been successful for many years by providing innovative products and best-in-class quality to its customers,” said Larry Marmon, chief executive officer of Discount Ramps. “We believe that consolidating Discount Ramps and Heavy Duty Ramps will enable accelerated new product introductions, improved customer service and seamless penetration of new markets. More importantly, we are excited about the opportunity to grow a U.S. manufacturing facility and create jobs.”
Heavy Duty Ramps, founded in 1980 in Ontario, Canada, moved to its current headquarters in 2010. It designs, manufactures and distributes ramps, loading systems and other products used with trucks, trailers, airplanes and other applications. It has about 35 employees, all of whom are staying on board at the existing location in Kewaskum, Marmon said.
The companies previously operated in a strategic partnership. Heavy Duty will become a subsidiary of Discount Ramps, and Beilstein will remain with Discount Ramps as executive vice president. He will focus on new product development and customer relationship management, Marmon said.
“Discount Ramps is the ideal partner for Heavy Duty Ramps, given our strong historical partnership and its position as a leading retailer of powersports and commercial ramps and loading systems,” Beilstein said. “Combining our product design and manufacturing expertise at Heavy Duty Ramps with the marketing expertise and customer relationships of Discount Ramps will create a strategic advantage for Discount Ramps in its online marketplaces. In addition, by merging into Discount Ramps, we at Heavy Duty Ramps will have the resources available to grow our customer base and execute an aggressive expansion plan.”
Discount Ramps plans to invest in growing Heavy Duty Ramps by increasing capacity and bringing new products to market faster, Marmon said. The plan is to hire five to 10 more skilled tradesmen in the short-term to ramp up production. Those positions will be cutters and welders at the Heavy Duty Ramps aluminum fabrication plant.
“We’re going to hire more people and we’re going to acquire more equipment,” he said. “We’re just going to be much more aggressive than the previous owner in making sure that we can service Discount Ramps, which is a major customer, and also other customers.”
“(Capacity expansion will) start with potentially more welding booths, so it’s not a major capital investment,” Marmon said.