• Starfire Direct is the first acquisition for Blackford’s Patio Consolidation portfolio
• Leading direct-to-consumer player within the patio and hearth industry provides solid foundation for growth and value creation
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 14, 2022 – Blackford Capital (“Blackford”), a leading lower middle market private equity firm, announced today the acquisition of Starfire Direct, based in Temecula, California. Starfire Direct is one of the leading direct-to-consumer companies in the hearth and patio sector, with award-winning fireplace, gas fire pits and high-end custom products for both residential and commercial installations.
Starfire Direct joins Blackford Capital’s Patio Consolidation portfolio, which is envisioned to be an asset-light, multi-product, omni channel platform offering products within the home outdoor space. The acquisition of Starfire Direct is the first part of a multi-phase plan to consolidate several participants in this space and create a business that will deliver hyper-growth through significant synergies and create a competitive advantage over time.
With this acquisition, Blackford is excited to be a leading participant in the new ‘the backyard is the new room in your home’ trend, furthering the company’s experience in the digital, direct-to-consumer marketplace.
“We are excited to welcome Starfire Direct as the first company in our Patio Consolidation portfolio,” said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital. “Jonathan Burlingham and his team have done an impressive job growing the Starfire family of brands since its founding in 2007. With industry-leading products and a loyal and growing customer base, this platform is well positioned for organic and inorganic growth through product development, enhanced sourcing and marketing, and synergistic acquisitions, which we are already actively pursuing.”
The Starfire Direct management team, led by founder and CEO Jonathan Burlingham and Chief Operating Officer Wes Chyrchel, will remain with the platform following the acquisition. Supported by Blackford’s most seasoned operating partners, Starfire’s expanded leadership team will work together to modernize internal operations, accelerate direct-to-consumer sales, improve the customer experience, and help guide future growth and value creation for its investors.
“For over 15 years, ‘Reinventing Outdoor Living’ has been at the heart of the products and services we bring to the hearth and patio market,” Burlingham said. “I can think of no finer way to truly embrace these words than by partnering with the team at Blackford Capital to push the boundaries of marketing, product sourcing and distribution in ways I’ve always known were possible; but had yet to realize.”
“Starfire Direct is a solid foundation for our Patio Consolidation portfolio as well as a catalyst for growth, and the Blackford Capital team has the talent to help Starfire knock this out of the park,” said Stein. “As the remote workforce continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels, we see the home outdoor sector continuing to expand as consumers focus on building and improving comfortable and engaging backyard and home experiences.”
WebsiteClosers.com served as exclusive financial advisor and Aegis Law served as legal advisor to Starfire Direct. Varnum LLP served as legal advisor and Grant Thornton served as the financial and tax advisor to Blackford. Mercantile Bank of Michigan provided debt financing and Rush Street Capital provided financing advisory services in support of the transaction.
About Blackford Capital
Founded in 2010, Blackford Capital is a private equity investment firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Blackford acquires, manages, and builds founder and family-owned, lower middle-market companies, with a focus on the manufacturing, industrial and distribution industries. With a track record of exceptional returns, a disciplined and relentless approach to value creation, and a focus on operational excellence and a compelling culture, Blackford was named the Private Equity Firm of the Year by M&A Advisor in 2021 and 2018. Several of its portfolio companies have been included on the Inc. 5000. For more information, visit blackfordcapital.com.
About Starfire Direct
Founded in 2007, owner and CEO Jonathan Burlingham set up shop in his home and started what would become one of the fastest growing companies within the patio and hearth industry. Starfire is a leading online source for designer fire pits, fire feature media, fireplaces, and gas burners, with do-it-yourself support and product videos. The company provides custom solutions for the home outdoor space to deliver memorable experiences. For more information, visit starfiredirect.com.