Norwest Equity Partners Makes Significant Investment in Leading Specialty Retailer Christy Sports
October 29, 2015
Minneapolis, Minnesota – Norwest Equity Partners (“NEP”), a leading middle market investment firm, has announced that it has made a significant investment in Christy Sports (“Christy” or the “Company”), a specialty retailer of ski and snowboard equipment, apparel, and accessories. The transaction closed on October 27, 2015; financial terms were not disclosed.
Christy is the largest privately-held specialty retailer of ski and snowboard equipment, apparel, accessories and related custom fitting, mounting, tuning and repair services in the Rocky Mountain region. In addition to a broad selection of retail merchandise in its stores, Christy provides rental services to customers offering the latest and best equipment available in the marketplace. The Company operates multiple e-commerce sites and currently boasts a broad retail footprint of more than 40 stores strategically located in resorts and ski areas across Colorado and Utah. In addition during the off-season, Christy operates a highly-profitable and growing outdoor furniture retail business, enabling it to leverage operational infrastructure, employees and distribution facilities.
NEP looks forward to leveraging its expertise within the consumer sector and partnering with Patrick O’Winter, Christy Sports CEO, and his management team on this investment opportunity. “Christy Sports has done an excellent job over the years fostering trusted and lasting customer relationships and positioning itself as the ‘go-to’ rental and retail center for snow sports enthusiasts. We are excited to work with Patrick and his management team to significantly grow the business through geographic expansion and add-on acquisitions and feel confident that the combination of our capital and industry expertise will help Christy to continue gaining market share,” stated Todd Solow, a NEP partner and Christy board member.
A central tenet to Christy’s success since its founding in 1958 has been its dedication to customer loyalty and execution of its mission to exceed customer expectations through outstanding service, deep product knowledge and high quality brand name equipment. Christy’s tenured front-line employee base and longstanding relationships with passionate snow sports enthusiasts provide valuable early intelligence on the latest technology and technical enhancements. Christy has positioned itself to be a trendsetter in apparel and accessory lines, operating with sufficient scale to take on a higher degree of risk relative to its competition.
Christy Sports is excited about leveraging NEP’s investment and expertise in the consumer sector to continue serving customers in the specialty retail segments of ski and snowboard, as well as outdoor furniture. “The entire Christy Sports team is delighted to work with an investment partner like NEP, which will give us the opportunity to expedite our current growth strategy,” stated Patrick O’Winter, Christy Sports CEO. “We are confident the partnership with NEP will help Christy Sports achieve our next level of growth,” O’Winter added.
“Christy offers a value proposition that satisfies this consumer retail market opportunity as evidenced by its brand equity and established loyal base of customers. On behalf of the entire NEP team, we are excited to partner with Christy to strategically and significantly grow the business,” stated Brian Allingham, a NEP partner and Christy board member.
NEP has been investing in growing and profitable middle market companies since 1961 and has deep experience working with consumer-related companies, including Bowtech, eyebobs, Apothecary Products, Shock Doctor, Rosetta Stone, Stanton Carpet, and Select Comfort.
Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, Christy Sports has over 40 locations and employs 650+ people. ICR Partners and Goldberg Kohn LTD. advised Christy Sports on the transaction; Winston & Strawn provided legal services for NEP. More information can be found on www.christysports.com and www.nep.com.