Stran President and CEO Andy Shape Reflects on T R Miller Acquisition, Company Stores and Fulfillment Capabilities
Stran announced today that it has acquired T R Miller Co. Inc. (T R Miller). T R Miller, a 47-year-old branded merchandise business with clients such as Major League Baseball, a Big Four accounting firm and Jim Beam, boasted 2022 revenue of approximately $19 million.
"We are thrilled to be acquiring T R Miller, our fourth announced acquisition within the past thirteen months, adding a team with deep industry experienced a blue-chip customer base," Stran president and CEO Andy Shape said in a press release. "T R Miller brings a dedicated distribution and processing center that significantly expands our operating capabilities. We look forward to working closely with Tom Miller, founder of T R Miller and a luminary in the industry, as we come together to become an even more valuable partner to our customers."
Through the acquisition, Stran will add T R Miller's 20,000 sq. Ft. Distribution and processing center in Walpole, Massachusetts.
Having made three acquisitions in 2022 – Premier NYC, Trend Brand Solutions and GAP Promotions – Stran will continue to use acquisitions as part of its growth strategy in 2023. However, Shape told Promo Marketing that the company won't be quite as prolific as it was in 2022 on that front.
"[Acquisitions are] a large part of our growth plan," Shape said. "What that looks like in 2023 is yet to be determined, since this is such a big acquisition with T R Miller. We're going to really concentrate on integrating them properly and getting them on board so we can maximize the value that we're acquiring from them. They've got 47 years of experience that we want to build off of that foundation. So, 2023 may not be as active in as many transactions as it was in 2022 and early 2023."
Part of the appeal of T R Miller – beyond the warehousing, in-house fulfillment and decoration capabilities – was the prominence of its e-commerce and company store business, which Shape says is something a lot of distributors have been focusing on in recent years.
"It's a big part of our value proposition that we present to our customers," he said. "It's not just selling products, but giving their audience access to those products through some easy-to-use interface, and usually that's an online store, so that they're able to display those products in the fashion that they want to help them accomplish their [goal] — whether it's marketing, loyalty or brand awareness efforts."
Miller said in the press release that he's looking forward to partnering with Stran.
"It is a rare opportunity to join forces with such a talented and hard-working organization," he said in the release. "I believe that together we can drive our clients' promotional marketing campaigns and programs to new heights, and look forward to embarking on this journey together."
Shape, in turn, is excited to integrate T R Miller's capabilities and expand their client base with big names, and take advantage of its in-house fulfillment capabilities. But, Shape clarified that the acquisition does not mean the company is abandoning its third-party-logistics (3PL) practice.
"We are clear that we use a lot of 3PL's right now," Shape said. "We're not abandoning that 3PL strategy, and we're going to take advantage of using 3PL's that add value to us. But, when we're going to do more specialty fulfillment or personal fulfillment that we need more control of, this gives us the ability to scale that out even further."