By Ken Ryan
For the second time in two weeks, E.J. Welch Company, a division of Center Rock Capital Partners’ Merit Distribution Group, has acquired assets from one of the industry’s top flooring distributors.
E.J. Welch said it has now acquired the Indiana, Western Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio territories—which also includes facilities—of Gilford-Johnson Flooring, effective Sept. 28, 2020. Gilford-Johnson ranked No. 19 on FCNews’ Top 20 Distributors’ 2019 list with projected sales of $92 million.
Separately, Bill Schollmeyer, who served as president of Gilford-Johnson Flooring since June 2019, has resigned, and accepted a position with Great Neck, N.Y.-based Wego International Floors to run the U.S. operations of its flooring division. He starts Oct. 5.
“I enjoyed my time at Gilford-Johnson and wish all my friends there and suppliers the best of luck in this new direction,” Schollmeyer told FCNews. “I am sure they are on the right track for continued growth. The E.J. Welch people are good people. This is a good match.”
With nearly 60 years in flooring and sundry distribution, E.J. Welch’s footprint covers 14 states and 25 locations across the Midwest and mountain states. “Today we further strengthen our position as a leading flooring distributor in the industry,” said Mitch Jolley, E.J. Welch CEO.
With the transaction, E.J. Welch believes it can provide one-stop shopping—and a wide assortment of quality flooring products—to customers in this region, according to Keith Throm, vice president of sales-Midwest for E.J. Welch.
Jonathan Blue, chairman of Gilford-Johnson Flooring, added, “This is a winning transaction for our customers, manufacturer partners and all employees. We look forward to focusing on strong territories with our products for current and new customers in the years to come.”
The Gilford-Johnson move follows its Sept. 18 acquisition of Houston-based T&L Distributing, a former Top 20 distributor. The transaction took effect Sept. 30. The companies have several common key suppliers including Tarkett, Raskin Industries, Centaur, Ardex and Taylor Adhesives. Johnson Hardwood, Raskin and Tarkett are among the key supplier partners to Gilford-Johnson and E.J. Welch as well.