Jacobs Gardner Founder Sells to Management

Bowie, MD-based Jacobs Gardner Supply Co., which mails the Jacobs Gardner Supply and Penny-Wise Office Products catalogs, was sold by founder Daniel Grossman to a management team led by Kathryn Morley and Gary Luiza. Terms of the deal, which closed on June 14, were not disclosed.

Morley, who joined Jacobs Gardner Supply in 1986 and most recently served as vice president of marketing, is now the firm’s CEO. Luiza, president/chief operating officer since 1993, remains chief operating officer. “This purchase was a unique opportunity for us to lead these companies — which have been a part of our lives for 20 years — from an ownership perspective,” Morley says.

Penny-Wise Office Products, which mails fewer than 5 million catalogs annually, sells the same merchandise as Jacobs Gardner — janitorial supplies, promotional items, and office products — but markets exclusively via catalog and targets companies with fewer than 50 employees. It also partners with more than 300 trade organizations, including the United Federation of Small Businesses, the National Association of the Self-Employed, and the American Medical Association. It has about 600,000 customers nationwide. The Jacobs Gardner brand, which targets larger businesses and the federal government, has a commercial sales force in addition to its catalog. The company mails 50,000 copies of the Jacobs Gardner catalog annually.

Grossman founded Jacobs Gardner Supply Co. in April 1978 as a retail chain with stores in the Washington and New York metropolitan areas. By 1990 the company operated 23 stores, but that year it closed the stores and formed a commercial/government sales force to sell to midbusinesses in the mid-Atlantic states as well as to the government.

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