GLEN RAVEN, NC—On October 2, Glen Raven Mills Inc., a global textile manufacturer with an estimated $1 billion annual sales acquired its longtime co-branding and jacquard upholstery marketing partner Sunbury Mills after a 60-day deal closing.
It’s nice to see a real textile company acquire Sunbury instead of a private equity company which has never worked out that well in this industry.
The marriage has already meant a big payday for the 225 employees at Sunbury. They were part of the ESOP which sold the company to Glen Raven and many will be able to send their kids to college with the windfall or buy a new home. One former employee commented: “I wish I had kept my ESOP shares.” For sure, it’s another big payday for the Truslows and all of their employees.
Aside from this hoopla for the employees, I think the best is yet to come for Sunbury. If I was a competitor to Sunbury, I would definitely try to raise my game because Glen Raven has had a solid history of buying privately held companies and making them stronger and more successful. With the acquisition, Glen Raven also gets several Sunbury licensed brands including Crypton,® and Nanotex®Asure. Sunbury just became a tougher competitor.
No doubt, Glen Raven’s success at branding outdoor fabrics with the name Sunbrella will mean more sales for the Sunbury Sunbrella jacquard designs. Glen Raven produces Sunbrella plains, plaids and stripes for upholstery, marine and awnings.
Of course, Sunbury and Glen Raven are no strangers to each other; Sunbury has been the licensing partner to Glen Raven for the production of jacquard fabrics with the Sunbrella® brand for over 22 years. Sunbury also produces its regular lines of woven fabrics for jobbers of residential and contract and furniture manufacturers in Sunbury, PA.
It is expected that Glen Raven will provide the capital and additional marketing expertise to accelerate the purchase of more equipment for Sunbury so that Hank Truslow’s stated goal of $100 million in sales may become a reality in the future. The agreed upon purchase price between the two privately held companies was not disclosed but estimates of Sunbury sales are currently in the $25+ million range.
Under the sale terms, Sunbury becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC, the makers of Sunbrella fabrics. David Swers is President and COO of Glen Raven Custom Fabrics LLC while Hank Truslow Jr. is CEO of Sunbury Textile Mills. Neither party could be reached for comment but they will be working together closely. Other officials, including Glen Raven Chairman, Allen Gant would not make further comment.
Even before the closing date for the deal was announced the Sunbury Mills website said it is “now the newest member of the Glen Raven family.” That’s how sure everyone was about the very friendly deal going through. Prior to the sale, the Glen Raven website already incorporated the Sunbury locations in Sunbury, PA as well as the newly refurbished 12,500 square foot sales and marketing offices in New York so the actual acquisition date seemed to be a fore drawn conclusion and merely a formality between very good friends.
Sunbury, founded in 1954, was sold several times over the last 30 years–once to Masco Home Furnishings, a defunct conglomerate and then bought back by the Truslows, the Sunbury founding family and other partners– and then resold again in an ESOP to its employees and now again to Glen Raven. It’s one of the big success stories in the history of American textile mills which normally end at bankruptcy auctions. The Truslows are that good at what they do and should be congratulated for their continued success.
By Eric Schneider