In January, 2012 Gary Davis CEO and controlling shareholder of Jim’s Formal Wear Co. approached Reynolds Advisory Partners with a problem common with many successful family owned businesses:

“How does an owner of a very valuable and profitable company secure his own family’s financial future while best securing the future for the Company and its employees?”

Jim’s Formal Wear Co. is, by far, the largest formal wear wholesaler in the US, providing the back office formalwear services for over 5,800 retail locations nationwide. Jim’s Formal Wear is headquartered in Trenton, Ill., in a state-of-the-art, 102,000-square-foot facility, employs over 600 people nationwide and has 9 other regional service centers located throughout the United States.

Gary and his wife, June, had purchased the business from his family in 1984, grew it dramatically and wanted to pass along the Company to his son, Steve, and ensure continuity for the management team and the company’s team members. However, the Company had grown in value to the point where not enough leverage could responsibly be added to the Company to create a direct sale. An outside party was necessary to create the necessary liquidity.

The team from Reynolds Advisory Partners completed significant diligence, valued the Company and identified and evaluated the available options for outside parties including: an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, sale to a strategic buyer, sale/recapitalization with a private equity firm, or sale/recapitalization with a private investment firm/family office.

At the direction of the Company, Reynolds Advisory Partners then ran a process to carefully consider each alternative simultaneously providing, at the end, the family with choices, real market-tested choices, available for execution. By the end of the process not only did Gary understand the financial terms proposed by each party and each form of transaction, but also the legal terms and conditions, the strategic vision, management structure and personalities that would be involved.

One of the highest priorities for Gary was to find a permanent home for the Company with a family that shared his values and visions. Reynolds Advisory Partners, using its huge network within the financial community opened discussions with dozens of family offices.

Presenting Gary with final proposals from multiple family offices and private equity firms; Gary, his son and the management team chose Armory Capital as the best future home for Jim’s Formal Wear Co.

Armory Capital is the family office formed by the Meyer family in Champaign, Ill. It is a private company with family values and culture that manages investments for an individual family and helps them diversify by investing in and holding other companies.

On announcement, Gary stated: “Frequently, a transition like this involves new financing arrangements, and we are fortunate to have Armory Capital partner with us because they share our values and respect our culture. With the merger of these two family-owned companies, it’s ‘business as usual’ for Jim’s Formal Wear, its team members and both Steve and me”.

From our perspective, this is generational transition at its best!