BFG Supply Co. was founded by John Gander after seeing the need for a horticultural distributor in the Great Lakes region. Starting small, business was managed out of a local barn, distributing to area greenhouse growers. Staffing with friends and family, the business began to grow. Soon a warehouse was built and additional employees added. Gradually expanding and developing new territories, BFG became a well-known and respected business.
BFG welcomed Cardinal Ventures LLC onboard as principal owner. Cardinal, a private equity firm based in Indianapolis, IN, shared our commitment to providing unparalleled service and quality products to our customers. Their resources and expertise have enabled us to continue to grow and exceed even our own expectations. At this point, BFG was 8 locations strong covering Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
BFG's first geographic expansion by way of acquisition took place. The purchase of J.G. Smith & Co. in Batavia, IL, extended our existing service area to the Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri markets.
Our acquisition of Brighton By-Products in Brighton, PA, occurred, broadening our ability to serve growers in Western Pennsylvania.
We expanded yet again by opening a brand new service center in De Forest, WI, to better serve our customer base in Wisconsin.
Our acquisition of MDM Horticultural Supplies in Minneapolis, MN, occurred, expanding BFG's territory out as far as the Dakotas.
We acquired the Kalamazoo Co-op in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The facilities within this location became the third hub within our warehouse chain and allowed us to more efficiently serve customers within this region.
We opened our newest service center in Louisville, KY to more fully serve an expanding customer base.
In September, BFG Supply Co. was acquired by Tricor Pacific Capital, Inc., a Vancouver private equity firm with offices in Vancouver, B.C. and Lake Forest (Chicago), IL. Tricor's strategic and capital resources will enable BFG to continue to grow while still providing top-notch products and service to our customers. Tricor was founded by those once immersed in our industry with the principals being former executives of Hines Nurseries and SunGro.
Our acquisition of Wetsel Inc., a company with a 100 year history in the industry, allowed us to expand our coverage to a total of 23 states within the Midwest , expand our product line and add Lawn and Garden and Turf to the markets BFG Supply Co. serves. Wetsel has a rich history within our industry, starting with Daniel M. Wetsel's decision to grow and sell seeds via a small portable cart and grew to a business which touted 17,000 stocked items from 275 manufacturers, maintained two warehouses and employed over 140 before BFG's acquisition.
Further along in 2011, BFG expanded again by acquiring JR Johnson. With this addition, we gained a stronger customer base in Minneapolis and the surrounding areas, plus added product lines.
In January, we expanded our footprint in the lawn and garden industry by securing a 200,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility formerly owned by Commerce Corp, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to the facility, new lawn and garden product lines have been added, and over 50 key employees hired to support this effort.
Today BFG Supply Co. is the best it has ever been and continues to grow with a strong vision for the future. As an industry innovator, BFG is on the forefront of new and useful technology to increase our efficiency and more effectively serve our customers. BFG now employs a staff of over 250, has 7 locations and serves thousands of customers across 23 states, making it one of the three largest Greenhouse, Nursery, and Lawn & Garden distributors in the country.