Gryphon-backed Mechanix Wear adds on Chicago Protective Apparel

The company's owners, Scott and Myrna Sherman, are retiring, while vice president John Merikoski will stay on as director of production.

Gryphon Investors-backed Mechanix Wear added-on Chicago Protective Apparel, which makes personal protective equipment. The company’s owners, Scott and Myrna Sherman, are retiring, while vice president John Merikoski will stay on as director of production, along with other members of the management team.

Press Release

Mechanix Wear®, a leading designer and manufacturer of high-performance work gloves, announced today it has acquired Chicago Protective Apparel (“CPA” or the “Company”), a 108 year-old, family-owned manufacturer of personal protective equipment (PPE). Mechanix Wear is a portfolio company of middle-market private equity firm Gryphon Investors. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1913 and headquartered in Skokie, IL, CPA manufactures and offers an extensive line of over 20,000 products for arc flash, foundry, and welding applications. The Company’s previous owners, Scott and Myrna Sherman, are retiring after 30 years of service. Vice President John Merikoski will remain with the Company as Director of Production, along with other members of the management team.

Mechanix Wear CEO Michael Hale said, “Our two-year partnership with Gryphon has accelerated our growth and positioned us to expand beyond our core line of work gloves. CPA’s culture of quality and focus on innovation synchronize with Mechanix Wear’s mission of bringing the latest design and material innovation to gloves for working hands. Moving forward, we will integrate and expand on CPA’s product portfolio by looking beyond conventional ideas to innovate the most advanced PPE possible. We are excited to collaborate with John and his team.”

Ryan Fagan, Managing Director in the Consumer Group at Gryphon, said, “We’ve been happy to partner with Michael and his team, and see the impressive growth they have continued to achieve as Mechanix Wear celebrates its 30th year of Hand Built Trust. We are excited to welcome CPA into our partnership.”

Mr. Merikoski commented, “We thank Scott and Myrna for building a trusted company that has attracted a loyal following and enjoyed enormous success. We are now in a great position to grow, and we are delighted to team up with such an iconic brand as Mechanix Wear. With their support, and with Gryphon’s capital and operational resources behind us, we expect to invest in continued innovation and customer satisfaction both domestically and abroad.”

EC M&A served as financial advisor to Gryphon and Mechanix Wear. Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Gryphon and Mechanix Wear, and Williams, Bax & Saltzman acted as legal advisor to CPA.

About Mechanix Wear®
Since the debut of the Original® work glove at the 1991 Daytona 500, Mechanix Wear has built a reputation as the leader in automotive, construction, industrial, and tactical hand protection. Headquartered in Valencia, California, the Company sells its products in more than 20,000 retail store locations across more than 70 countries and through industrial distributors. Our mission is to look beyond conventional ideas and continually innovate the most advanced gloves for working hands. The Tool That Fits Like a Glove®. For more information, visit www.mechanix.com.

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors (www.gryphoninvestors.com) is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. The firm has managed over $5.0 billion of equity investments and capital since 1997. Gryphon targets making equity investments of $50 million to $300 million in portfolio companies with enterprise values ranging from approximately $100 million to $600 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form strong partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.