EXCLUSIVE: Cincinnati investors acquire local family business

A group of Cincinnati investors led by an investment banking firm is acquiring a majority stake from the founders of family-owned Northern Kentucky manufacturing firm Stairtek Inc. 

Mount Adams-based RKCA and the investment arm of Cincinnati-based Amend Consulting teamed up to buy out two of the three co-founders of Stairtek on Sept. 30 at an undisclosed price. The Erlanger-based company makes hardwood and laminate stair pieces. Those include the treads – the pieces people walk on – and the risers, or backing pieces that face people as they climb stairs. It sells its products to big-box retailers, flooring distributors and homebuilders.

Ken Schumacher, who had been CEO, and his wife, Carolyn, who was CFO, sold their ownership interest. They founded the company in December 2004 along with Ken’s nephew Jay Schumacher.

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ParkerGale Capital acquires legal enterprise software provider Rippe & Kingston

CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rippe & Kingston, a leading provider of financial and practice management software for law firms in the U.S., announced today it has received a majority investment from technology-focused private equity firm ParkerGale Capital.

Rippe & Kingston was founded in 1982 by George Kingston and Joe Rippe, and has established itself as a reliable, best-of-breed software provider for law firms. They provide their clients with a fully integrated solution for revenue and expense management, timekeeping, practice management and analytical reporting tools to successfully and profitably manage law firms.

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CenterGate Capital Acquires TSC Apparel

An affilliate of private-equity firm CenterGate Capital, Austin, Texas, recently made an investment in TSC Apparel, Cincinnati.

A national B2B distributor of imprintable activewear and accessories, TSC Apparel stocks and sources thousands of styles of T-shirts, fleece, headwear, sport shirts and outerwear. Bob Winget, its president, will continue to lead the company and serve on its board of directors.

CenterGate Capital is a middle-market private-equity firm that helps companies maximize growth and value through partnership and capital while supplementing management’s operational and industry expertise with the company’s transactional and business experience, according to CenterGate.

“We are excited about our partnership with CenterGate and what it means for our customers and vendors,” Winget says. “CenterGate’s investment will provide the capital and strategic resources to continue to expand our products and market presence.” — J.L.

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Kroger signs big deal to buy cutting-edge exit signs from Cincinnati startup

A Cincinnati startup has landed a huge contract with Kroger Co., the nation’s largest operator of traditional supermarkets, to buy its cutting-edge photoluminescent exit signs.

MN8, founded by firefighter Zachary Green in 2010, will provide its glow-in-the-dark exit signs at all of Kroger’s new and renovated supermarkets. Eventually, Kroger will install the LumAware exit signs in all of its 2,778 supermarkets in 35 states and the District of Columbia as it renovates stores and replaces existing signs.

The contract is in the “tens of millions of dollars” over the next couple years, MN8 founder and CEO Zachary Green told me.

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EXCLUSIVE: Cincinnati basketball family buys Chevrolet dealership

A Cincinnati family steeped both in local college hoops and vehicle sales has purchased a dealership to call its own.

Mike Kelsey was born into the car business. His grandfather sold Mercuries and Lincolns in the 1950s, and his father worked for Jake Sweeney. Kelsey himself sold his first car after graduating from high school and was hooked. He went on to attend Xavier University on a basketball scholarship but got married as a sophomore.

“I figured I could make enough selling cars to give up my scholarship and pay my way through school, and I sold cars,” he told me.

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