CIC Acquires eCompanyStore

When Bob Herzog took over as CEO of Corporate Imaging Concepts (CIC; asi/168962) last year, he said he wanted to turn the Northbrook, Il-based firm into one of the top 10 largest distributors in the promotional products industry.

Herzog and the CIC team have taken a step toward that goal by acquiring Alpharetta, GA-based distributor eCompanyStore (asi/185782). Terms of the acquisition, announced Monday, were not released.


CIC CEO Bob Herzog discusses the acquisition and what the future holds.

The deal creates a combined distributorship that’s expected to generate $85 million in sales in 2018, Herzog told Counselor. If the sales tally is achieved, it would put the company in the top 25 of Counselor’s list of the top 40 largest distributors in the industry, based on the most recently available numbers. “We have an aggressive plan to grow organically and through acquisition,” Herzog told Counselor, adding that CIC is currently eyeing an acquisition of a West Coast company.

Herzog told Counselor that CIC generated about $44 million in sales in 2017, while eCompanyStore did about $33 million. eCompany Store appeared on Counselor’s list of the Top 40 largest distributors in the industry as recently as 2016.

Still, the acquisition was about much more than buying revenue, according to CIC. Rather, it was about joining forces with a company that is an excellent complement to the firm. Both, for instance, offer quick and flexible tech driven-solutions and warehousing capabilities that clients desire, said Herzog. He noted that CIC can create web stores in a day and integrate with end-user software packages in days, while eCompanyStore has robust design capabilities.

“The combined entity will have incremental scale that will enable further investment in innovation and technology, both of which are transforming our industry and driving customer success,” Herzog said in a statement. “CIC and eCompanyStore have very similar cultures, systems, and products, with complementary geographies and customers. The combination of the two customer-centric cultures will create a platform for incremental growth and a real force in the industry.”

Jeff Camp, CEO of eCompanyStore, said the firm has been following CIC’s growth for years and felt the distributor represented a perfect partner with which to join forces for greater mutual success. A good cultural fit was important, too. “Our respective cultures, acutely focused on the customer, are very similar and complementary,” Camp said.

In the short term at least, both CIC and eCompanyStore will continue to go to market under their current names. Herzog told Counselor that company leaders are investigating the possibility of coming up with a new name that would combine the companies under a single brand umbrella, but nothing definite has been established. “Each company has a strong brand and we are sticking with that for the time being,” Herzog said.

eCompanyStore will continue to operate in Georgia. “We plan to have a presence in the Atlanta area for a long time,” Herzog said. He said that a leadership team with executives from both companies is being created, but has not been finalized yet.

The deal between CIC and eCompanyStore was finalized April 30.