Work World, which is backed by Gart Capital, has acquired Whistle Workwear and Willy’s Discount Workwear. No financial terms were disclosed. Whistle and Willy’s are providers of workwear specialty retail stores in the Pacific Northwest.
DENVER, Colorado — Work World (“WW”) is pleased to announce the acquisition of Whistle Workwear (“Whistle”) and Willy’s Discount Workwear (“Willy’s”). Whistle and Willy’s are the largest group of workwear specialty retail stores in the Pacific Northwest. Together with WW, the combined company operates 35 locations across Washington, California, and Nevada in addition to a significant B2B business.
Founded in 1995 in Puyallup, Wash., Whistle Workwear has grown to 11 stores that include nine Whistle Workwear stores and two Willy’s Discount Workwear stores located throughout western Washington. Their formula to success has remained consistent: serving the American Worker by providing the quality workwear they need under one roof with great customer service, a wide selection of products, all at competitive prices. Throughout their tenure, Whistle and Willy’s have focused on providing top-quality products from brands like Carhartt, Dickies, Wrangler, Danner, Wolverine, LaCrosse, Timberland Pro, Keen, and more – very similar in approach to Work World.
Kat Jobanputra, President of Work World, understands the value of what Del Deide and his family have built and Work World is committed to maintaining what he calls the ‘Whistle Way.’ “Customers have an ever-growing number of choices, but come back to Whistle because they know they have a wide selection of the right products and we are committed to first-class customer service,” said Kat.
With a long history of investing in consumer-focused companies and in specialty retail, Gart Capital Partners’ goal is to help Work World and Whistle’s management teams come together and capitalize on the opportunity ahead while maintaining a mutual commitment to customer service and fair prices.
“We admire the incredible business and focus on customer service that is synonymous with the Whistle brand in its local communities, and are fortunate that the relationship we have cultivated with Del over the past 12 months provided us with this opportunity to partner,” said Alex Gart, Partner at Gart Capital. “Our aim is to grow the combined company within its current markets and into new markets based on that successful blueprint as we work to meet the workwear needs of the hard-working men and women who shop at both Work World and Whistle.”
The timing of this acquisition is quite serendipitous with regard to the start of a major digital transformation for both companies. By mid-year, the businesses will be converted to a new fully integrated ERP system that emphasizes a seamless integration of all touchpoints across customer service. Customers will have immediate access to the full inventory of all stores to ensure rapid fulfillment of any order in the store or online. The combined company will finally have a full 360 view of its customers no matter where they shop. Combining this technological investment with Work World and Whistle’s leadership and heritage will truly lead to the most sophisticated and well-merchandised specialty workwear retailer in the country.
“We could not have had a better fit than with Work World, as they have the same philosophy about supplying the best quality workwear with great customer service. It is a comfort to know that the business that we have nurtured for over 25 years is in good hands,” said Del Deide, President and Founder of Whistle and Willy’s. “Our team is excited for the future expansion and opportunities to continue to grow personally and professionally.”
Work World continues to evaluate acquisition opportunities in the workwear and industrial/safety supply and distribution channels to build on its success and better serve its diverse and expanding customer base.
About Gart Capital Partners: Gart Capital Partners is a private equity investment partnership located in Denver, Colorado. GCP is focused on lower middle market consumer and service-oriented investment opportunities. The firm is a division of The Gart Companies, a family investment office with diversified holdings. Since inception, The Gart Companies have executed over 100 site-level acquisitions and have opened over 200 new store locations across 8 platforms including Gart Brothers Sporting Goods Company, Specialty Sports Ventures, Running Specialty Group, Bag N Baggage, GolfTEC, and Work World. For more information, please visit www.gartcompanies.com/gart-capital.