Insights & News
FourBridges Advises Rock/Creek Outfitters in Sale to Uncle Dan’s Outfitters
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Rock/Creek Outfitters Inc. announced that the company has been sold to Uncle Dan’s Outfitters, a Chicago-based outdoor retailer and a subsidiary of Camping World Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CWH). Camping World, which also owns Gander Outdoors, is the world’s largest network of RV-centric retail locations, with revenues of $4.3 billion.
An independent specialty outdoor retailer, Rock/Creek provides outdoor gear from top brands for sports including kayaking, rock climbing, camping and hiking. In additional to a robust online store, the company operates six brick-and-mortar locations in Chattanooga, Franklin and Cleveland, Tenn., and a seasonal outpost near Benton, Tenn. FourBridges Capital Advisors — an investment banking firm that helps business owners sell their companies, refinance debt or access growth capital — acted as exclusive advisor to Rock/Creek.
“The Rock/Creek brand has been a good thing for Chattanooga for more than 30 years, and it will continue to be a community-based, hyper-focused retailer in the outdoor specialty market,” said Chad Wykle, a co-owner of Rock/Creek. “Partnering with Uncle Dan’s will give us the horsepower to build upon our continuing success and to expand our regional and online presence.”
Wykle and co-owner Jonathan Scott acquired Rock/Creek from its founders, Dawson Wheeler and Marvin Webb, last year. Wykle and Scott initially engaged FourBridges to gain more financial insight into their business, but when they were approached by Uncle Dan’s in late 2017, they asked FourBridges to advise them through the selling process.
“Initially, FourBridges helped us gain a better understanding of the health of our company and the right way to grow it,” Wykle said. “When it became clear that Uncle Dan’s was a potential partner, we quickly shifted gears. FourBridges negotiated and structured a deal that would benefit our team, our brand and our customer base, while achieving our personal and financial objectives. They were great to work with, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.”
Uncle Dan’s was acquired in 2017 by Camping World. Earlier this year, Uncle Dan’s acquired Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, a leading Midwest specialty retailer of outdoor gear and apparel. Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of Camping World and star of the television reality show, “The Profit,” previously stated that Camping World’s recent string of acquisitions will strengthen his company’s efforts to build a seamless approach to the outdoor lifestyle market and expand its e-commerce reach.
Both Uncle Dan’s and Erehwon were established in 1972 as specialty outdoor retailers. Like Rock/Creek, the two companies value a small-business mentality that supports the communities in which they operate and fosters healthy growth of the outdoor recreation market.
While their shared platform will allow them to compete with major industry players, Uncle Dan’s, Erehwon and Rock/Creek will continue to operate as individual brands and maintain their own identities. Their customers can expect the same experience and quality of service that they have always known.
“FourBridges was pleased to advise Rock/Creek in this transaction,” said Andy Stockett, a managing director with FourBridges. “The fact that Camping World and Uncle Dan’s would choose the Rock/Creek brand as a beachhead for expansion in the South is a testament to the vision and innovation Marvin and Dawson brought to outdoor retailing 30 years ago.”
Read more about the deal here: