Success Stories

Checkers Industrial Products

Broomfield, CO

Driving to the Next Stage of Growth

Tonka Bay Operating Partner, Ray Torres, helps a leading industrial safety product distributor pursue acquisitions, enter new markets, and hone operations.

Steve Henry started Checkers Industrial Safety Products in 1987. He built the company into a leading distributor of cable protectors, wheel chocks, and safety whips, based in Broomfield, Colorado. Steve didn't have any plans to sell the company. Checkers had come through the recession and Steve was thinking about the company's next stage of growth.

That's when Steve met Tonka Bay. He was attracted to Tonka Bay's operations-focused investment strategy. Steve saw a tremendous opportunity to pursue acquisitions and enter new markets, but the company lacked experience in these areas. He recognized that a partnership with Tonka Bay would help Checkers pursue these opportunities and take the company to the next level.

Steve also hit it off with Tonka Bay Operating Partner Ray Torres, a proven manufacturing executive who assisted with the due diligence process. Ray's successful track record, leadership skills, and operating abilities were appealing to Steve as the company contemplated its next stage of growth. Tonka Bay and Steve completed a recapitalization in 2010, which enabled him to have a liquidity event, retain an ownership stake in the company and continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

Ray Torres joined the Board of Directors and became an advisor to the company. Ray helped the company close and integrate three key strategic acquisitions in the first sixteen months following the transaction. In his Operating Partner role, Ray has also helped to build the management team, implement lean manufacturing, pursue new markets, add product categories, and implement new sourcing initiatives. These strategies have helped grow the company's top and bottom line significantly over a short period of time.

"Ray Torres' work with Checkers is a great example of Tonka Bay's Operating Partner model being a differentiator to a business owner and accelerating the value creation process of a portfolio company", said Shane Slominski, a Principal with Tonka Bay.

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