Schaefer Brush Manufacturing acquired by Blackthorne Partners


Waukesha-based Schaefer Brush Manufacturing LLC has been acquired by Brookfield-based investment group Blackthorne Partners Ltd.

Blackthorne now has seven companies in its portfolio. It most recently acquired Milwaukee fireplace door manufacturer Design Specialties LLC in March.

Schaefer was incorporated in 1905 and makes brushes in a variety of materials and sizes for use in heating and air conditioning, food processing, automotive, building maintenance and a variety of other industries. It is located in a 59,000-square-foot facility at 1101 S. Prairie Ave. and has 58 employees.

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“Schaefer Brush is internationally known as a premier source for industrial brushes, and for its innovation to meet the evolving needs of the brush industry,” said John Syburg, a managing director at Blackthorne. “We intend to build upon that legacy and keep Schaefer Brush Manufacturing in the forefront of its industry for many years to come.”

Harold Schaefer, the fourth generation of the Schaefer family to be active in the business, has owned the company since 1991. He will retire after more than 50 years at the company.

“When I saw how Blackthorne Partners has strengthened other Wisconsin companies, and how it retains the owner/operator culture that keeps those businesses innovative and in the forefront of their industries, I knew my decision to sell to Blackthorne Partners was the right one,” Schaefer said. “I can retire knowing the Schaefer family legacy will be honored and carried on.”

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The company will continue to operate independently under the same name, in the same location. Sheri Reichart, current president of Schaefer Brush, will continue in her role and oversee day-to-day operations of the business.


“Sheri has been with Schaefer Brush since 1968 and is deeply knowledgeable about every aspect of the business and our industry,” said Steve Balistreri, a Blackthorne Partners managing director. “We’re pleased that she will remain in her leadership position as the company enters a new era of growth and innovation.”

“The future is bright as we continue on our path of innovation and leadership in the industrial brush industry,” Reichart said. “We are moving ahead on many initiatives that will solidify Schaefer’s position as the innovative leader. I am excited about this new partnership with Blackthorne and our growth plan.”

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