Lippert acquires SureShade

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Lippert Components said it acquired the assets of SureShade on Oct. 21. Financial terms were not disclosed.

SureShade co-founder Dana Russikoff told Trade Only Today that she and her husband, Ron, founded the company in 2007 with the intention of eventually selling it. The company has focused on the boating industry with its awnings and shades but this year expanded into the recreational vehicle industry with its SureShade RV awning at this year’s RVX trade show.

“We’ve had a conversation going for quite some time,” Russikoff said. “We didn’t recognize the [Lippert] name at first, but it didn’t take long for us to realize they were becoming a significant player in the marine industry.”

Russikoff noted that the timing was right for the acquisition since there seems to be a “convergence” taking place across certain sectors of the RV and boating industries.

“Combining SureShade’s products with our Taylor Made Bimini tops and accessories helps us provide our customers with a broad offering of awning and shade solutions for any type of boat,” said Jason Lippert, CEO and President of LCI, in a statement. “We are excited to add SureShade’s dedicated employees to our team and, together, create and deliver innovative sunshade solutions worldwide.”

Russikoff said Lippert will make the “ideal strategic partner” and will promote rapid growth in product development. “They will invest more heavily in the business than we could have as a scrappy startup,” she said. “We’re looking forward to leveraging all the resources and growing the brand and maybe adding other products under the brand.”

The company will retain its brand name and new headquarters in Philadelphia. SureShade’s 25 staff members will remain with the company.

“Lippert will have a strong foundation to grow the business,” Russikoff said. “They have a unique culture in the way they treat their people and run their businesses. We’ve come to see that over time. This acquisition, which is the next evolution of the business, was a no-brainer for us.”

Russikoff will remain with the company, leading global sales for boats and RVs. “It’s not clear what Ron’s eventual role will be,” she said. “He’ll stay with the company to ensure an orderly transition and may work with joint product development going forward. There’s definitely opportunities for that.”

Russikoff said Lippert’s focus on product development will continue at both SureShade’s Philadelphia headquarters and other Lippert facilities. “Needless to say, several Lippert facilities have very robust R&D departments,” she said. “We expect that pace to accelerate as we move into RV.”

SureShade has been a textbook example of how to start a business in the marine industry, grow it and eventually find a larger, strategic partner. “Ultimately, creating wealth is not just about selling a business,” Russikoff said. “It’s about taking raw materials and turning them into a product. That is the essence of true wealth creation, and we’re fortunate to be involved in it.”

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