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Blackford Capital acquires Illinois hospitality company COURTESY PHOTO

Blackford Capital acquires Illinois hospitality company

BY Wednesday, March 22, 2017 03:00pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Blackford Capital has entered the hotel business through a new acquisition under its National Growth Practice.

The Grand Rapids-based private equity firm has acquired Snowhite Textile and Furnishings Inc., of Addison, Ill., which assists hotels in designing and procuring the interior furnishings for their hotel rooms.

For Blackford Capital, the deal allows the firm to access what founder and Managing Director Martin Stein sees as an expanding market for economy and midscale hotel rooms across the country.

“As we look at it, there are a lot of hotels being built over the course of the next few years,” Stein told MiBiz. “It's been a good run so far and Snowhite occupies a very unique position within that market because they are providing design services for the room designs. … It’s a large industry. By our estimates, it’s a $5 billion to $7 billion industry overall with a lot of players, so there’s significant room for growth and consolidation within the space.”

As of October 2016, approximately 70,000 economy, midscale and upper-midscale hotels were under construction in the U.S., with another roughly 230,000 hotels under contract, according to data from IBISWorld provided to MiBiz by Blackford Capital.

Going forward, Blackford plans to enact a multipart growth strategy that includes growing Snowhite’s market share among its existing customer base and pursuing additional brands in the hotel industry. The company currently works with La Quinta, Choice, Wyndham and Hilton hotels.

Beyond its traditional customer base, Blackford also plans to tap adjacent markets for interior furnishing design and procurement services in the senior care center, military, timeshare and other sectors.

To lead its growth strategy, Blackford hired Greg Kadens as the company’s new CEO while the original owner, Dick Kapadia, transitions into retirement. Kapadia still holds a financial interest in the company, Stein said.

“We’re working with Greg Kadens, who was previously the president of a American Hotel Registers division that did exactly this — he grew that company by four-fold when he was the president at a relatively tough time,” Stein said. “We’re very confident in Greg's ability to do this going forward in the future.”

Blackford financed the transaction through a combination of equity and senior debt. The senior debt was financed by Lombard, Ill.-based West Suburban Bank.

Stein declined to disclose terms of the deal.

The deal marks Blackfords’ fourth acquisition under its National Growth Practice, which also includes California-based Key Health Solutions, Minnesota-based Staging Concepts and Pennsylvania-based McClarin Plastics LLC.

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