Boca Raton-based Hollander Sleep expands with acquisition of Seattle bedding company

Chances are if you bought a pillow recently it was made by Boca Raton-based Hollander Sleep Products — or perhaps the company it just acquired.

Hollander is a top company in the bedding products market, excluding mattresses. It makes bedding items for well-known brands including Ralph Lauren, Simmons, BeautyRest, Nautica and Waverly. The company manufactures pillows, comforters, mattress pads and other “white” bedding.

In June, Hollander announced the acquisition of Seattle-based Pacific Coast Feather Co., which makes down and down-alternative bedding products. The company makes products for top brands including Pacific Coast, Calvin Klein Home, Jockey, Spring Air and Tahari Home.

“The merger makes Hollander the single-largest supplier in the U.S. in the home textiles industry,” said Jennifer Marks, editor-in-chief of industry publication, Home & Textiles Today. She said Hollander already was the single-largest supplier in the nation of filled utility bedding.

Together, Hollander and Pacific Coast Feather Co. generated $669 million in 2016 sales, Marks said.

Terms of the acquisition were undisclosed by the private companies.

But Hollander’s CEO Mark Eichhorn said Pacific Coast Feather “is a very big investment for us. It is a great complement to our business. We are primarily a synthetic, fiber-filled supplier. Pacific Coast Feather is primarily a natural, down fill. The combination of those two makes a lot of sense,” he said.

Eichhorn said the acquisition will result in a stronger company, complete with manufacturing efficiencies. One reason he wanted to acquire Pacific — a two-year effort — was the company had manufacturing plants with extra capacity. The acquisition will add five more plants.

Eichhorn, who was named CEO in 2015, said he expects to make more acquisitions in related product lines, as well as growing Hollander’s e-commerce business.

“I can foresee this business being a billion-dollar business in the next five years,” he said in an interview last week.

“One of the strengths of this company has always been the quality of the product,” Eichhorn said. “Hollander has been and continues to be recognized in product quality and innovation…We’ve had that position and we’ve held that position. What was holding us back was an inability to execute operationally to service the business.”

Eichhorn, along with Hollander’s senior management, is a part-owner of the company, with major investor Sentinel Capital Partners, a New York equity firm with more than $2.6 billion under management, according to its website.

Thomas A. Ferguson, retired chief operating officer of Newell Rubbermaid, now Newell Brands, said Eichhorn is unusual in that he’s proficient in all aspects of a business: finance, manufacturing processes and mergers and acquisitions.

Eichhorn’s “well-rounded” background led to success at The Anchor Hocking Co., where he was CEO, Ferguson said. Before that, he was an executive for Newell Rubbermaid.

“Mark was always very diligent in the way he looked at a company,” Ferguson said. “He has the tendency of studying and moving ahead, but not until he understands what he’s doing. It’s a very good basis for decision-making.”

Sales had been static at Hollander, but they’re growing in the “mid-single digits,” Eichhorn said, attributing that to the focus on customer service. That’s something he learned from his time at Newell Rubbermaid, where every business meeting began with a focus on service.

“I love factories. I love the people who work in factories. I love the fact that we’re all customers of what we do. I find that both interesting, helpful, and fun,” said Eichhorn, 62. But he conceded he had never gone shopping for a bed pillow before taking the Hollander job.

To prioritize service, the CEO led by example, visiting factories more frequently, and telling employees what better customer service would do for the business.

“Once we saw service improve, new sales opportunities became more readily available to us. Customers just trusted us more. We earned their trust,” Eichhorn said.

Hollander’s on-time shipping and completion of orders, which has risen 96 percent — up 10 percentage points — over the past two years.

“That’s really what it’s all about — keeping the retailer consistently in stock,” he said.

Helen Lee, vice president of merchandising for American Hotel Register, one of Hollander’s biggest customers, said Hollander has been a “strong partner” for many years. She said the company stands out for its “technology and innovation.” The supplier is particularly helpful when its clients — hotel chains including Marriott and Hilton — want to test a new product, such as an upgraded pillow made of a certain fabric.

“They’ve always been very responsive,” she said.

Hollander had its start in 1953 as Hollander Home Fashions in Newark, N.J. It became Hollander Sleep Products when it acquired Louisville Bedding Co. in 2013, and moved the headquarters to Boca Raton.

Today, Hollander employs 117 at headquarters and more than 1,450 in total.

Busy times for the company include the “Back-to-College” season in August and September, when parents buy bedding for their college-aged children. Other seasonal events are the Christmas holidays, where people tend to spruce up their homes for company, and January, which is deemed “white sale” month by retailers.

While Eichhorn has navigated through tough times with other companies, Hollander is a different situation, he said. His work has been to position it for greater growth.

He looks back to his time at Anchor Hocking and recalls how the company sustained sales increases — even during the recession years of 2008 and 2009. Acquisitions were part of the recipe.

“We hope to replicate that here at Hollander,” Eichhorn said.

Source : sun-sentinel

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Author: Chris Salamone

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