JWI Capital Buys WH Smith Hardware

JWI Capital has acquired the WH Smith Hardware Co., a Parkersburg, West Virginia-based fabricator and assembler of handling equipment and load securing and material handling hardware. No financial terms were disclosed.


JWI Capital, LLC (JWI), a Cleveland, Ohio based investment firm, completed the acquisition of The WH Smith Hardware Company (WH Smith).  WH Smith assembles and fabricates fluid handling equipment and load securing and material handling hardware, primarily for military applications.

WH Smith’s current line of products include, hose, manifold, valve,  pump and nozzle assemblies used in fluid handling applications and shackles, chains, hooks, load binders and cargo-tie downs for load securing and material handling applications.  WH Smith provides value added services including assembly, light fabrication, painting and testing.  All finished products are produced according to strict military specifications.

Mark Jantzen, JWI Managing Director, commented, “As a graduate of the US Naval Academy and military veteran, I am excited to continue WH Smith’s tradition of providing high quality products that support our troops.  My partners and I will bring new energy to WH Smith to capitalize on its excellent reputation.  We will focus on expanding product offerings to government agencies and by offering our products to the commercial markets.  We also intend for WH Smith to be a platform to acquire other defense related businesses.”

WH Smith, based in Parkersburg, West Virginia, has a proud legacy, dating back more than 135 years to its founding in 1874.  Vint Rathbone, the current owner and CEO of WH Smith, stated, “I am proud of the accomplishments achieved by WH Smith under my ownership during the last 35 years.  In selling the business it was important to find a management group with the skill, excitement and capital necessary to move this business forward.  I am confident JWI can guide WH Smith into a new era of growth.”  

The principals of JWI will assume active roles in the daily management of WH Smith.  Vint Rathbone will serve as a consultant to the new management team for a transitional period.