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Daniel Walker buys Jaymar

 6 October 2014      

TERREBONNE, Quebec (06 October 2014) - Industry veteran Daniel Walker has acquired contemporary upholstery specialist Jaymar from the Bermex Group.

The terms of the deal, which closed last Friday, were undisclosed.

Daniel Walker
Daniel Walker
In addition to the role of president and chief executive officer, Walker will be the Jaymar's sole shareholder. The acquisition included all of the company's assets including its factory and head office building, equipment, name, trademarks and business operations. Prior to the acquisition, he was CEO of the Bermex Group.

In an interview with Home Goods Online, an exuberant Walker said the timing couldn't be any better for either Jaymar or Bermex, particularly with the U.S. market showing signs of a reasonably sustainable recovery. He added the deal will also give both companies room to focus on their strengths and develop new growth strategies.

"This is a good deal and the timing couldn't be better," Walker said, adding both he and Richard Darveau, chairman of the Bermex Group, will benefit from the arrangement. "Both of us are very happy."

He added he expects Bermex will now focus on growing its overall case goods business as well as the Liinz and Dezmo upholstery divisions of Shermag. Another priority will be the development of its youth business while positioning themselves as a vendor of choice to larger retailers such as Toys ‘R Us and Brault & Martineau, among others. "They are going to target the large chains in Canada and the U.S.," Walker said.

Jaymar, on the other hand, has tended to focus on strong independent retailers. The company has always been known as a designer and producer of both leather and fabric upholstery in the ‘better' and ‘best' price points. It was founded in 1956 by Canadian industry icon George Reinitz, who sold the company upon his retirement in 2000 to the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based investment group River Associates, which at the time owned several other furniture producers including Lazar Industries, Stoneville Furniture, Towne Square and Woodland Furniture.

It was subsequently acquired by Shermag, at the time the third largest furniture manufacturer in Canada, in 2003. At its peak in the early part of 2000s, Jaymar's annual shipments were estimated at $40 million, 50% of which went to retailers in the U.S.

Walker expressed his gratitude to Reinitz, who has been advising him through the acquisition process.

The years since 2008 haven't been kind to Jaymar as sales had fallen and exports to the U.S. fell to just 15% of annual shipments. "My target is to get that back up to 50% in a few short years," he said, adding, "I want to get this company back to where it was."

However, Walker believes he has a strong foundation on which to build. The factory has 130,000 square feet of production space; complete with its own frame shop; two computer-driven leather cutting machines; two computer-driven fabric cutting machines; 37 sewing stations; and, seven assembly lines.

"The factory can easily double its output," Walker said, adding the property covers a total of about 265,000 square feet, giving him lots of room to expand if needed. "We're going to build better product with faster delivery while offering designs that really appeal to today's customer."

Jaymar will debut its first significant new product collection under Walker's leadership at this month's High Point Market with the unveiling of the its first-ever collection from well-regarded furniture designer Stanley Jay Friedman.

In addition to employing 145 production staff, Jaymar's Terrebonne facility also boasts an 8,000 square foot on-site showroom and a 2,000 square foot photo and video studio. It will also maintain a High Point showroom at The Factory and a Toronto showroom on Delta Park Blvd, both of which also house the various Bermex divisions.

"Right now, we're the number one supplier of upholstered beds in Canada," Walker notes, adding, "We're shipping an average of 40 to 50 a day." Jaymar will add six new models to its line-up at the upcoming fall edition of the High Point Market.

He also adds total sales to date this year are up about 10% over last year. "Our U.S. business is emerging nicely," he said.

Walker also said he's also made the first addition to Jaymar's new management team with the appointment of his brother, Michael Walker, as executive vice president. He will oversee all U.S. and Canadian business operations and will take an active role in product development.

A 30-year veteran of the Canadian furniture industry, Michael Walker served as president of Bermex's Mi-Di division. He also holds a Chartered Accountant's (C.A.) designation as well as an M.B.A.

"He's going to be my right arm," Daniel Walker said.

At this time, Jaymar will exhibit at the High Point Market as well as in the Toronto Winter Furniture Show in January and the Canadian Home Furnishings Market next June.

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