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Acquisition Unites Two US-Born Apparel Manufacturing Operations

The Wahconah Group, a company that designs, sources, manufactures and sells lifestyle apparel, has acquired Global Neckwear Marketing (GNM), the owner of the Rivetz of Boston brand of neckwear and other custom collegiate and corporate items.

With GNM’s portfolio, Wahconah says it will be able to expand its product lines and marketing efforts, particularly for a variety of branded products and apparel for various organizations and retail outlets.

The Rivetz of Boston line is largely known for its fine traditional and fashion forward designs. In addition to neckwear including neckties and bowties, the company has expanded its line to include silk knit ties, suspenders, women’s scarves, ribbon belts, hair accessories, custom jewelry and fabric wallets. These items include custom school and corporate logos.

Although the companies share roots in designing and manufacturing apparel in the U.S., their backstories differ. GNM traces its roots all the way back to 1921, when the Rivetz of Boston bowtie brand was founded by Abe Rivetz. Upon going national, the brand became the first manufacturer to approach the Ivy League schools and develop a neckwear insignia program.

The company says Ralph Lauren designed ties for the firm from 1961 to 1967, and developed the wide necktie concept during his stint there.

On the other hand, the Wahconah Group was formed in 2011, and has been geared toward the private-label and contract side of apparel manufacturing. Based in Cleveland, The Wahconah Group’s new headquarters will house a customer service call center, design studio, central warehouse and distribution center, and small-scale apparel manufacturing and sampling and apparel prototyping facilities.

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The company has a deal with the U.S. Postal Service to manufacture clothing. Under a licensing agreement, the Post Office agreed to allow the apparel company to use various trademarks and the words “Rain, Heat & Snow” on clothing and accessories.

Wahconah also has a Tactical Services Division in North Carolina that provides custom cleaning, decontamination, repair and restoration services for the global defense, security and first-responder markets.

Currently located in Dorchester, Mass., GNM operations will relocate to facilities in Cleveland under Wahconah.

The acquisition comes at an interesting time as a presidential administration takes shape in the U.S. In January, President Joseph Biden issued an executive order to support manufacturers, businesses and workers by requiring federal government agencies to give preferences to American firms. The order directs agencies to close current loopholes in how domestic content is measured and increase domestic content requirements.

Generational Equity, a mergers and acquisitions advisor for privately held businesses, oversaw the sale of GNM to Wahconah Group.

Generational Equity’s executive managing director, M&A-technology practice leader David Fergusson, his team led by senior M&A advisor, Jeff Carignan, with the support of vice president, mergers and acquisitions, Corey Painter, successfully closed the deal. Senior managing director James Carr established the initial relationship with GNM.

“Having both a motivated buyer and seller made this deal possible under the most trying circumstances. It was my pleasure to work with each party to a mutually satisfactory deal,” Carignan said in a statement.

The acquisition closed Jan. 22, 2021. Financial terms were not disclosed.