Advent-Morro Invests $5 Mln in La Familia

Advent-Morro Equity Partners said Wednesday that it has invested $5 million in La Familia, a chain of pawn shops located in Florida and Puerto Rico. Advent-Morro, of San Juan, is a PE firm that targets the U.S. Hispanic market.


San Juan‐based ADVENT‐MORRO Equity Partners, a leading
private equity firm focused on the US Hispanic market, completed a $5 million investment in La Familia,
a chain of pawnshops that offers pawn lending and other specialty finance services to fill the needs of
the large un‐banked population that does not have access to banks or traditional lending institutions.
La Familia was founded in late 2009 by industry veterans John Thedford and Woody Whitcomb. The
Company’s first store opened in Orlando, Florida and the second in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. It has
focused on the growing U.S. Hispanic population by targeting its store locations in predominantly
Hispanic neighborhoods and staffing them with bilingual team members that can relate directly to the
local population and their needs. Today La Familia has grown to 19 stores: 14 in Florida and 5 in Puerto
Rico. It employs a total of 158 people: 111 in Florida and 47 new positions in Puerto Rico filled in the
past 12 months. Overall, 79% of the Company’s employees are Hispanic ‐ 71% in Florida and 100% in
Puerto Rico.
The Company’s mission is to provide a unique experience to its predominantly Hispanic client base by
offering them a safe environment, clean and ample spaces, and a wide variety of merchandise in stores
that are manned by a team of highly trained employees focused on customer service. La Familia
leverages on a deep pool of talented and experienced personnel, and operates with strict adherence to
procedures, commitment to employee training, and careful planning and controls.
Cyril Meduña, founder and managing partner of Advent‐Morro, stated that “La Familia has already
become a unique agent of transformation for the pawnshop industry in the markets where it operates.
With a clear Hispanic market focus, the name itself is in Spanish and speaks directly to traditional familycentered
Hispanic values. Immigrants tend to be more likely to be unbanked; this is no exception in the
Hispanic immigrant community and is an opportunity for La Familia to attend to the community’s
financial needs through its rapidly growing chain of stores. Through its name, store staff, and unique
focus on open and friendly customer service, La Familia is ideally positioned to step into an unattended
market and become the preferred pawn lender to the Hispanic population in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.”
David Ashe who will represent Advent‐Morro on the Company’s Board of Directors stated that, “La
Familia provides a unique opportunity to invest in a growing industry with a proven management team
that truly understands the market and has customers’ service and benefits as top of mind every day they
go to work. After Advent‐Morro decided to enter the industry, La Familia was carefully chosen as the
leader among its competitors for being one of the few companies that truly focused on the customer
experience. John and Woody know how to build customer loyalty and Hispanics are loyal clients.
Lending is a relationship business and the La Familia’s team is the best in the industry. Having to go
through the lending process at a pawnshop is usually not a very gratifying experience, but at La Familia
this can be done in a safe, comfortable environment, serviced by an excellent and friendly group of
La Familia’s corporate operations and services have received important mentions in the international
press. La Familia’s rigorous and systematic human resource selection and hiring processes received high
mentions in The Wall Street Journal in an article focused on small and medium‐sized companies.
Additionally, The New York Times and The Times (London) recently highlighted that La Familia is
capitalizing on the availability of several premium Blockbuster store locations in Puerto Rico and Florida
to set up their own stores.
One of its founders, John Thedford, President of La Familia, expressed, “We are thrilled to have Advent‐
Morro as one of our business partners and as members of our Board of Directors. We have already
benefitted from their experience and talent in helping develop young companies like ours. Additionally,
with their infusion of capital, we will meet our objective of expanding our business, more than doubling
the number of stores in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Hispanic market. We have a unique operational
model, focused on meeting the multiple financial needs of the consumer in those markets.”
Meduña concluded, “We are very excited about our investment in La Familia. The Company is uniquely
positioned to enter underserved markets that have been particularly receptive to its differentiated
approach to the pawn business, successfully growing into Puerto Rico, and targeting the expanding U.S.
Hispanic population. This investment is one hundred percent aligned with Advent‐Morro’s strategy of
providing expansion capital to Hispanic entrepreneurs and companies focused on services and products
targeted to the growing U.S. Hispanic community in regions with highly concentrated Hispanic
demographics, as are Orlando and Miami, where La Familia operates.”
Advent‐Morro Equity Partners is the leading private equity firm focusing on the U.S. Hispanic market
and Puerto Rico related investments. Since its inception in 1989, Puerto Rico‐based Advent‐Morro has
invested in more than 40 companies that today generate over $3.5 billion in annual revenues and
employ more than 3,000 people, creating significant wealth to the management teams that operate
them and making substantial contributions to economic development in the communities in which they
La Familia is a chain of pawnshops established in 2009 in Florida and Puerto Rico. La Familia seeks to
provide a different experience to customers than that offered by its competition. A merchandising
strategy based on larger stores offering a wide variety of products and friendly service is supported by
an operational strategy based on excellence in human resources and a focus on store‐level execution.