Yesterday, we reported that Debco, Concord, Ontario, has become the newest member of the HUB Promotional Group, Braintree, Mass. Today, we spoke with Alex Morin, Debco's executive vice president of sales and marketing, about how the deal came to be, and what it means for the future of the two companies.
Promo Marketing: Give us a little bit of background here, if you can.
Alex Morin: Well, Debco has been around for about 35 years. And, we're at the stage where we've grown tremendously, and our ownership team is probably getting little bit older. There's certainly a recognition that we want to continue this strong growth and we want to do that well into the future, preserving the strong legacy of the company, creating jobs and maintaining jobs for all of our staff. And so that was the impetus of finding a partner and starting to actively look for one over a year and a half ago.
As you know, you go through a process when you do that. The process brought us to the HUB Group, who happen to be a phenomenal group of people, and we really liked their culture, we really liked their values, we really liked where they were going in terms of growth and vision, and out of all of the suitors that was the one who made the most sense to us.
PM: What exactly does this mean for the future of Debco and HUB?
AM: It means that we're part of the same family now. HUB Group has acquired the majority interest in Debco. Our senior leadership team will retain a small minority stake in the HUB Group, which is great from a Canadian content perspective, and it means that we're going to have the operational expertise and added product lines from the HUB family of companies, of which there are now five all together. And, it means we're going to be able to share best practices. There are so many that they do that are just phenomenal and that we're ready to get rocking and rolling on. And, vice versa, as we've gotten to know each other over the last couple months, it'll be important that they learn from us as well. It's a two-way street as we grow our respective companies and the whole family of companies together.
PM: It certainly seems like a win-win for everyone involved.
AM: There's just no question about it. There's absolutely no question. The synergies are there, the values, and the visions are very alike.
PM: Could you clarify one thing we saw in the press release about Hub Pen Company moving some operations to Canada?
AM: We had actually already signed a long-term lease on a new facility just prior to closing. That's a 250,000 sq. ft. facility right down the road from where we're currently at in Concord, Ontario. Our new location will be in Vaughan, Onatrio, about 10 minutes away. That will take us a good three, four months to get in there. There are some design and architecture stuff that has to be done in regards to some of the office space. As such, we plan to integrate Hub Pen's most popular products into our line before the end of the year. As we move in, the new equipment will move in to be able to decorate some of their most popular products, and that's what we mean when we say we're bringing some of the line to Canada. And we'll market those products and sell those products to our Canadian customers.
PM: Are any Debco operations moving to Massachusetts, then?
AM: Initially, it's business as usual. Everything will remain the same in terms of us facing our customers in Canada and our customers in the U.S. So there are no immediate plans to bring Debco operations down to the states. But over time, there's no question that we will be bringing our most popular product categories down to the U.S., as well, like we're doing the other way around with the pens coming into Canada. That means, initially, you're looking at drinkware and tote bags essentially making their way down south to the HUB family.
PM: To wrap this up, what are you looking forward to the most from this?
AM: Knowledge. I'm speaking for myself, but really the difference maker these days, I think, is thought leadership—where you're going with technology and how you're integrating technology into all aspects of your company. And [HUB is] very strong and capable in that sense. And, at Debco we've made really innovative strides that no one in the industry has been able to do yet. When we assimilate those strengths, that's what I'm most looking forward to, the ability to put together two unbelievable thought leadership teams and have an ability to do something extremely unique in this industry.
For more information on Debco, visit www.debcosolutions.com.