Prospect Brands LLC has made another acquisition, purchasing a majority interest in the high-end men’s label Crittenden & Co.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Crittenden & Co. LLC was founded in 2003 by men’s wear veteran Crit Rawlings. The label offers high-end men’s jackets, dress shirts, neckwear, sweaters and trousers and is sold at around 30 specialty stores around the country. It also operates a flagship store in Midway, Ky.
Prospect Brands is a partnership between Omaha-based private equity firm McCarthy Capital Fund V and former apparel executive Tom Nolan, who serves as president and chief executive officer. The company also owns the Duck Head sportswear label and Gerbing technical outerwear.
Nolan said Rawlings will continue to run the business and the Kentucky store will remain open.
“Like any small business, he had some operational challenges, but that’s our strength,” Nolan said, calling Crittenden “a remarkable little brand” and saying Rawlings has a “taste level unlike any I’ve ever seen. Crittenden is a great addition to our existing portfolio.”
Nolan also revealed that Duck Head, the Southern label best known for its men’s slacks, will open its first flagship in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday. The 2,500-square-foot store is located in a turn-of-the-century flour mill and includes a history/museum room dedicated to the brand, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2015.
Duck Head was founded in 1865 when two Nashville brothers, George and Joe O’Bryan, turned duck — heavy canvas used for Army tents — into sturdy work pants and overalls. The label changed hands several times over the years and was owned most recently by the defunct Southern retailer Goody’s, and then Virginia investor Ross Sternheimer. It was acquired by Prospect about one year ago.
Since Prospect got involved, Nolan has worked to create a lifestyle brand under the Duck Head name and the label now offers knitwear, denim, wovens, sweaters, outerwear, T-shirts, headwear and accessories in addition to bottoms. Nolan said Duck Head is currently sold in around 20 specialty stores and sell-throughs have been strong. “It’s a Southern brand, but it strikes a chord with people,” he said, noting that the first wholesale account was a specialty store in Nantucket, Mass. “That was an important test, to see if the brand had legs outside of the Southeast.”
In addition to Duck Head merchandise, the store will carry Gerbing and Crittenden products along with vintage pieces, candles, books and other lifestyle items. “It will have more of a general-store feel,” Nolan said.