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Ariens Co. to acquire direct marketing brands

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Gempler’s, Ben Meadows and AW Direct will become part of the company January 1.

| December 4, 2013

Brillion, Wis. – Ariens Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire select assets of three specialty direct marketing brands from W. W. Grainger. Gempler’s, Ben Meadows and AW Direct will become part of the Wisconsin-based outdoor power equipment manufacturing and distribution company when the agreement closes by January 1, 2014. No other terms of the agreement will be disclosed.

“As we grow the distribution side of the business these companies represent strong niche segments that fit nicely with our current portfolio of outdoor brands,” says Dan Ariens, company President and CEO. “This acquisition allows us to build a more diverse distribution platform for the company that will ultimately help offset the inherent seasonality of some of the company’s equipment products such as snow blowers.”

The three brands are all direct marketing companies providing equipment and supplies to niche professional markets:
-  Gempler’s serves the agricultural, horticultural, grounds maintenance, and contractor markets.
-  Ben Meadows serves the forestry, fire and rescue, resource management and grounds maintenance markets.
-  AW Direct serves the towing and service vehicle markets.

Ariens Company will retain certain of the management, customer service and other employees currently working for the three companies. It will also continue to maintain Wisconsin offices in Madison and Janesville where the positions are currently located. The company will continue to distribute Gempler’s, Ben Meadows, and AW Direct products from the current distribution center located in Janesville, Wis.

“We are working to ensure a seamless transition so that customers do not experience any disruption of service or changes to the way they interface on a day-to-day basis with these brands,” says Ariens.
The brands will be operated as a single entity under a newly-formed Specialty Brands Group which also includes after-market equipment parts supplier Stens® and commercial landscaper parts supplier J. Thomas.

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