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Thursday, Dec 1, 2022
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Fenders ‘n More Sold to Wolfe

A Santa Fe Springs manufacturer looking to grow its boat-trailer parts business has acquired the decades old family-run Pacoima firm Fenders N’ More. While the sluggish economy cuts into sales, by buying Fenders & More, Wolfe Industries Inc. gains immediate market share and doesn’t have to invest in new equipment. The purchase also eliminates a competitor in the fender business. “Rather than developing a product line, we can merge [Fenders N’ More] right into the existing operation,” said Rick Brooks, general sales manager for Wolfe Industries. Jack Jarred founded the Valley manufacturer in the late 1960s. After he passed away the ownership reverted to a trust held by his three children; two sons and a daughter. Two of the children have since died, and the third had no interest in running the business. Doug Comford, Jarred’s son-in-law, has been head of the company since 2003 and approved the sale. Wolfe will retain the Fenders & More name because it is a known brand and will continue to employe the 13 workers who are primarily machinists. Brooks said that no decision had been made about keeping the business in the San Fernando Valley although Comford suggested that the Fenders N’ More operations may move to Santa Fe Springs later this summer. Wolfe Industries has the space to take on the extra work, Brooks said. The company employs about 30 workers and provides precision machining for a number of industries, including aerospace. The boat-trailer business stamps out housings and peripheral parts for trailer manufacturers such as skids, steps, light brackets, and storage boxes. The fenders are used to pull trailers hauling boats, jet skis or motorcycles. “By acquiring Fenders N’ More we want to have an emphasis on the more,” Brook said. When It’s Time to Sell Comford hired business brokerage firm Sunbelt Business Advisors to find a buyer for his company. The Tarzana-based firm had the company available for about two months and showed it to three other potential buyers before the sale to Wolfe, which is also buying the property. Comford admitted there was not much of a succession plan in place for the fender manufacturer. He had been in the shoe business for 35 years before joining the company. Sunbelt principal Joe Goldberg said that when brokering sales he hears talk about exit plans but unexpected circumstances such as illness or death can derail those plans. With Comford, 63, he reached an age where he wanted to retire. “People realize they have come to a certain point in their lives and they call us to do what we do,” Goldberg said. Succession planning can take many forms but too often most family-owned businesses don’t think about that planning until further down the path than they should, said Ernest Doud, a family business consultant with Doud Hausner & Associates in Glendale. Confidentiality is a big part of Goldberg’s service because business owners don’t want to alarm their employees or tip off competitors about their plans. Next comes qualifying the buyer to assure they have the money and knowledge to purchase a company. “I talk more people out of buying a business because these people have no knowledge at all when it comes to manufacturing,” Goldberg said. There was no such concern when it came to Wolfe. Comford feels confident that he made the sale to the right company and that owner Greg Wolfe will make the right choices for Fenders N’ More to continue to be successful. For years, Comford said, the company has been the only game in town and treated all its customers the same whether they ordered $1,000 in parts or $1 million worth. “I don’t recall a fender rejected for something we did; we won’t let it go,” Comford said. “We work at a slower pace than Wolfe does but [the fenders] are not returned or rejected.”

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