Robbins Brothers, the 15-store jeweler that specializes in engagement rings, has new owners: a coalition of its current management, investment firm Main Street Capital, and unnamed coinvestors.
Comvest Partners, which purchased the Azusa, Calif.–based retailer in 2014, is no longer involved in the company.
Marc Friedant (pictured), Robbins Brothers’ president and CEO, calls Main Street Capital a respected financer for the middle market, noting it owns a portion of Jensen Jewelers, another 15-store jewelry chain.
“They are the anti–private equity,” he says. “They are very patient. After a couple of rounds of private equity owners, we needed something other than your traditional PE who wants to [exit] in five years.”
Friedant says that current management—which includes him—will have a “significant equity stake” but declined to provide other details. Main Street Capital will provide “funding in a combination of first lien, senior secured term debt and a direct equity investment to finance the transaction as well as provide capital to support its future growth,” said a statement.
He adds that, while the company’s financial performance has improved, “from a door perspective, we have been stagnant for the last few years.”
The restructuring provides opportunities to expand: “We have been very successful in the markets we are in. We would like to expand into adjacent markets. Even in California and Texas, there is a lot of white space. There is a lot of space between Orange County and San Diego County. Just in our own backyard, there are a lot of opportunities,” Friedant says.
While Robbins Brothers has a web presence, that’s mostly used to drive customers into the store, he adds.
“Our typical consumer is a younger consumer, so we spend a lot of time gaining their trust. When you come into our stores, you can expect to spend an hour and a half to two hours. That is how much we invest in education, trust and allowing people to do it at their own pace.”
On Jan. 4, Main Street issued a statement saying that it had invested $47.4 million in a “leading retailer of luxury goods” based in the Southern and Western United States, in a transaction that seemed similar to the one announced by Robbins Brothers. Main Street didn’t respond to an inquiry about whether it was referring to Robbins Brothers in that statement.
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