Staging Concepts buys Architectural Railings & Grilles

Staging Concepts, a portfolio company of Blackford Capital, has acquired Architectural Railings & Grilles (ARG). Financial terms weren’t announced. Fort Mill, South Carolina-based ARG provides welded aluminum, glass, and stainless steel railing systems. Mercantile Bank of Michigan provided senior financing, while Capital South Partners and Spring Capital provided mezzanine financing for the transaction.


GRAND RAPIDS, MICH., September 16, 2015 – Staging Concepts, a world-class designer and manufacturer of staging equipment and railing systems, based in Minneapolis, Minn., today announced it has acquired Fort Mill, S.C.-based Architectural Railings & Grilles (ARG), an industry leader in welded aluminum, glass, and stainless steel railing systems.


Founded in 2001, ARG manufactures modular and custom stainless steel railing systems and fabricates aluminum rails for commercial high-rise construction projects. The company is a full-service operation, offering design, manufacturing, and installation services.  ARG expects its current team of 20 employees to expand over the coming months as a result of the acquisition.


“ARG has an excellent reputation for dependable service and reliability, as well as a broad range of turnkey capabilities,” said John Lewis, CEO of Staging Concepts. “This acquisition creates a strong opportunity for continued growth through leveraging sales infrastructures, reputations, and relationships across the combined business. The additional commercial railing offerings will contribute to a more consistent backlog and pipeline, and we look forward to additional opportunities as we begin to work together.”


Staging Concepts, which goes to market with its railing products as SC Railing Company, will immediately gain over 20 additional product lines to bolster their ArchitectuRAIL stainless steel and glass line of modular railing systems. The company will also gain new market presence in aluminum railings for high-rise residential buildings.


Blackford Capital acquired Staging Concepts in 2010 and has grown the company’s revenue from approximately $15 million to just under $40 million, a 25% CAGR, prior to the acquisition of ARG. Through Blackford, Staging Concepts will assume full ownership of the ongoing ARG business as a result of this transaction.


“Staging Concepts has experienced excellent growth since partnering with Blackford five years ago,” said Martin Stein, founder and managing partner of Blackford Capital. “We attribute a great deal of that success to our strategic management hires, sales infrastructure development, and investment in new product development. The ARG acquisition positions Staging Concepts for further growth through product line and market expansion. We are excited to continue to develop the company’s positive industry reputation for quality work and value with the addition of ARG.”


Mercantile Bank of Michigan provided senior financing, and Capital South Partners and Spring Capital provided mezzanine financing for the transaction.


About Blackford Capital
Blackford Capital is a private equity firm based in Grand Rapids, Mich., that acquires, manages and builds middle-market manufacturing, distribution and service companies, with eight portfolio companies across the country. The firm has offices in Grand Rapids (headquarters) and Santa Monica, CA. Blackford reviewed roughly 5,000 transactions in 2014, and has closed 38 transactions in the past ten years. The firm’s investment criteria includes mature, profitable businesses with revenues between $20 million and $100 million, with management teams that are either willing to remain with the company or are seeking to retire. For more information, visit


About Staging Concepts
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Staging Concepts is a leading manufacturer of portable staging equipment and custom railing solutions. The company has provided portable staging solutions for theatres, production companies, performing arts centers, worship facilities, and colleges and universities since 1990. Staging Concepts’ custom railing solutions are used in a large number of stadiums and arenas across the nation. For more information, visit and