Latitude 27 Capital, a private investment firm that supports small and middle market companies, has acquired the assets of JK Jewelry (JK Findings), a 45-year-old global designer, manufacturer and wholesaler of jewellery components, also known as findings. John Kaupp, the Founder and CEO of JK Findings, will retire as CEO and remain as an equity investor and Board member in the newly formed JK Acquisition, LLC.
Tim Tevens, Managing Director of Latitude 27 Capital, says: “We see clear strategic growth paths in both product and market expansion that will fuel the future growth and success of JK Findings. Given the size and breadth of this niche market and our long-term expectations, we believe with this acquisition we will achieve out-sized returns for our investors.”
JK Findings was founded in 1975 as a wholesaler of jewelry findings, and is headquartered in Rochester, NY, with a sales office in Hong Kong. Given the poor quality and service from existing suppliers, Kaupp decided to insource the manufacturing process to better control supply chain quality and produce more innovative product offerings. Over its long history, Mr. Kaupp built JK Findings into an industry leading designer and manufacturer of high-quality jewellery findings, renowned for its excellent customer service. In addition, he developed a strong management team, including 20-year veteran, Joni Lucas. Lucas, who has held the combined positions of chief financial officer and chief operating officer of JK Findings for the last 14 years, will succeed Kaupp as chief executive officer.
“I am pleased to lead this company to its next phase of growth and work closely with our new owners, Latitude 27 Capital. Jim and Tim bring a wealth of knowledge to further advance the creativity, operational efficiencies and strong customer focus of our JK Findings team, and to drive the opportunity for even greater expansion. Given Jim and Tim’s leadership experience with larger and more global manufacturing companies, I believe they will help us achieve our long-term, global growth goals,” said Joni Lucas, CEO of JK Findings.
Jim Westman, Managing Director of Latitude27 Capital, adds: “We are pleased to be partnering with Joni and her team at JK Findings to continue the excellent work that John Kaupp began many years ago. We are also excited that John has invested in the new company and that we will continue to benefit from his many years of industry experience through his service on our Board of Directors.”
Debt capital to fund the purchase of JK Findings was provided by TCF Capital Funding and Route 2 Capital Partners. “It was a pleasure to work with both TCF and Route 2 Capital Partners,” says Jim Westman. “The principals in both of these organisations are industry veterans with long track records of success in financing middle market transactions.”