Premier Needle Arts (PNA), a Blue Point Capital Partners portfolio company, announced today the acquisition of Berroco, Inc., a leading supplier of knitting and crochet yarns and patterns serving local yarn shops and e-commerce retailers.
During the last seven years, PNA has forged a core philosophy and strategy when adding brands to the PNA family.
“We are focused on investing in leading and innovative brands that are dedicated to passionate creators,” said Premier Needle Arts CEO Mark Hyland. “We have a proven track record of bringing on brands with existing strong core values and leadership. Berroco has a legacy of more than 40 years creating the highest quality yarn, designs, and patterns support.”
To best serve its customers, Berroco and each of the PNA brands will operate as separate entities with existing management, locations, and sales channels.
“Berroco is known for providing support and innovation for its customers in local yarn stores,” said Hyland. “Local experience and support are critically important to makers for inspiration and education. Berroco will remain committed to these values as it continues to operate independently and serve local yarn shops with its present sales team, full product line, and customer support.”
Berroco CEO Warren Wheelock said the company decided to join PNA because of its like-minded core values, family focus, and business philosophies. “We are pleased that our current customers and the next generation of Berroco customers will be served as part of the PNA family, which understands the crafting space and embraces customers’ needs, especially those of the local yarn shops.”
“It’s exciting to find the perfect partner to help us carry Berroco into the future. And best of all, Caroline and I will continue with the company, allowing us an opportunity to work in a creative industry that we love. You can’t beat that!”
A sixth-generation family business
Warren Wheelock has been president of Berroco since 1987 and is the sixth generation of the Wheelock family in the business. His great great great grandfather, Jerry Wheelock, joined the Daniel Day Mill in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in the early 1800s. The mill was one of the first in the US to produce woolen cloth. In 1905, Stanley Wheelock established Stanley Woolen Mills, and later, in 1968, the family formed a hand knitting subsidiary, Stanley Berroco. The name Berroco is a combination of the first syllables of two sales agents, Berglass and Rosenberg.
In 1987, Warren and his wife Caroline reestablished the company as Berroco, Inc. and grew it to become one of the largest importers and wholesalers of hand knitting yarns, patterns, and supplies in the United States and Canada. The company imports yarns from all over the world including Japan, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru, New Zealand, and many European countries. They also publish a range of books and patterns for knitting and crochet.
“I’m sad to see another longtime family business being sold,” said knitwear author and teacher Carol Sulcoski upon learning the news of the sale. “Berroco has always provided quality yarns and excellent pattern support — they’ve been a stalwart of the industry for many years.”
“This is part of the broader trend we’ve seen of independent yarn manufacturers either shutting down or selling to large corporate entities,” Sulcoski said. “It remains to be seen how far this consolidation trend is going to go.”
Jim Hobart, co-owner of Alpaca Direct, an online and brick-and-mortar retailer of quality yarns with a monthly knit club subscription, had this to say about the acquisition: “Berroco has been a great partner for us for well over a decade. The quality of their product, the efficiency of their operations, and just the way they do business have always been the gold standard we look for with all of our suppliers. Our hope is that this will continue with this upcoming change.”
Headquartered in North Salt Lake, UT, Premier Needle Arts is a group of brands that provide sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, and fiber art supplies, and products to a global network of independent quilting, sewing, and yarn retailers, international and domestic quilting distributors, and direct-to-consumer via e-commerce. The Premier Needle Arts holding company operates two divisions anchored by Handi Quilter based in North Salt Lake, UT, and Crafts Group based in Vancouver, WA. Crafts Group’s other yarn-related holdings include KnitPicks and WeCrochet.
Blue Point Capital Partners is a private equity firm managing over $1.5 billion in committed capital. With offices in Cleveland, Charlotte, Seattle and Shanghai, Blue Point’s geographical footprint allows it to establish relationships with local and regional entrepreneurs and advisors while providing the perspectives and resources of a global organization. Blue Point has over a two-decade history of partnering with lower middle-market businesses to build processes and capabilities to achieve dramatic growth. The firm focuses on opportunities where it can leverage its collective experience, extensive network of operating resources and unique toolkit, which includes supply chain/Asian capabilities, data and digital strategies, human capital strategy and focused add-on acquisition efforts. Blue Point typically invests in businesses that generate between $30 million and $300 million in revenue.
Abby co-founded Craft Industry Alliance and now serves as its president. She’s a sewing pattern designer, teacher, and journalist. She’s dedicated to creating an outstanding trade association for the crafts industry. Abby lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.