Beauty Store Business magazine - January, 2020

Swander Pace Acquires J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household

Swander Pace Capital, a private equity firm specializing in consumer products companies, has acquired the J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household brand and assets from Watkins, Inc. The Minnesota-based J.R. Watkins has been known for its natural personal and household products since its inception as an apothecary 150 years ago. Swander Pace will now separate J.R. Watkins Personal Care & Household and Watkins, Inc., allowing the companies to focus on personal and household products and high-quality spices and extracts respectively.

Swander Pace’s move also attests to the increasing national popularity of regional, clean, customer service-oriented brands. “We are looking forward to building on the legacy of J.R. Watkins to increase its share of the household and personal care category,” said Heather Smith Thorne, Swander Pace Capital’s managing director. “J.R. Watkins has always stood for a superior range of products, high caliber of customer service, and extremely loyal customer base. These are tremendous assets for any consumer-facing business and are major reasons we are excited about partnering with this team and brand.”

Never adverse to positive growth, J.R. Watkins has a history of pairing with well-known distributors and retailers, including online markets. “We are thrilled to be working with such an experienced and knowledgeable partner in Swander Pace,” said Mark Jacobs, CEO of Watkins, Inc., who will now serve as vice chairman of the newly formed J.R. Watkins. “Time and again, they have nurtured authentic brands with high-quality products in the natural products space, helping them become leaders in their categories. Swander Pace is known for helping companies grow revenues, improve profitability and unlock value, and we look forward to working with their team to ensure J.R. Watkins is well-positioned for long-term success.”

Mark Poff, managing director at Swander Pace Capital, also expressed his excitement about the deal. “Amid changing customer tastes, J.R. Watkins is in a unique position to increase its market share in the natural home, bath and body care business. We are confident that the investment will put the company in the best possible position to expand upon its already-successful legacy.”

BMO Capital Markets counseled Watkins, Inc. on the deal, but terms were not disclosed.