First acquisition for ARC opens new markets

Workwear, PPE and custom apparel specialist ARC Workwear & PPE has finished integrating the Merch Stall screen-printed leisurewear business, which it acquired in March, into its business to expand its reach into new markets.

Merch Stall, which was based in Keighley and serves the music sector and designer brands, was acquired along with its design label As Thieves six months ago in what was the first acquisition of Sherburn-in-based ARC. -Elmet, West Yorkshire.

It has allowed ARC to tap into “new and niche markets” and add screen printing to its existing embroidery and heat transfer capabilities.

Merch Stall began moving into the ARC facility in June and the move and new setup was completed by the end of July with no disruption to customers.

Anthony Chapman, managing director of ARC, said print week that the period since the deal was completed had been “manic” for the company.

“We have concentrated on transferring the business and all the machinery to Sherburn and converting the various information systems to the ARC Group systems. We have done excellent business with the Merch Stall and As Thieves customer base and have managed to increase the value of this business.

“Now that the group is consolidated in Sherburn we are starting marketing and business development activities. We have been working on the structure and systems to ensure that when we begin business development activities for Merch Stall and As Thieves, we will be able to deliver quickly and provide the extremely high level of customer service that the ARC Group is known for.” .

Rebecca and Anthony Chapman established ARC over a decade ago in the family kitchen and serve SMEs, blue chip companies, supermarkets, and municipalities, among others.

As it grew, the company moved to the Sherburn Enterprise Center and then moved again in January 2019 when it purchased Unit 4, Blackburn Industrial Estate on Enterprise Way, which is around 5,000 square feet in size.

Joe Tilston, managing director of Merch Stall, is staying with the business and will continue to be responsible for operations. The other two people from the three-employee company couldn’t move in with the business as they couldn’t commute to Sherburn every day.

Tilston said: “ARC’s acquisition of Merch Stall gives us increased buying power and the ability to cross-sell ARC Group products to our sizeable customer base. I am looking forward to being a part of the ARC team and our continued success.”

The 12-employee ARC now has opportunities for additional staff, with “three or four” current openings in areas including screen printing and warehousing. You also have a small number of trainee roles available.

“We are pleased that ARC staff work flexible hours to fit their family commitments, and we welcome college students looking to finance their education,” said Chapman.

“We have a successful apprentice program and will be taking on additional apprentices in the new year; I am very interested in giving young people a start in life.”

Following the acquisition, the company operates several printers and cutters, as well as an embroidery department with six and eight head machines. It has also recently invested around £20,000 in a new direct-to-film (DTF) setup.

“Now we have Merch Stall, this has opened up new markets for the group, such as the merchandise sector that supplies merchandise for clubs, groups and everyone who wants it,” said Chapman.

“Merch Stall specializes in the music sector, so we are looking to grow this area and continue to support the aforementioned areas.”

He added: “We are planning further acquisitions once we have fully consolidated the Merch Stall and As Thieves businesses and are confident that the group is working effectively and taking advantage of the efficiencies provided by the additional volumes.

“Our strategy is twofold; We will make acquisitions in the same markets we are currently in, but we will also acquire new product capabilities so that we can sell more to our current and new customers. Increasing customer spending is a key strategy we follow.”

ARC expects its revenue to be between £1m and £2m this year.

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