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Smart Care Makes First Acquisition 6 Months After Spinning Out of Ecolab

The St. Paul-based spinoff expects to make several acquisitions in its first year as an independent company.

Smart Care Makes First Acquisition 6 Months After Spinning Out of Ecolab
Left to right: Remco's Bruce Gory, Rich Gory, Tom Gory, Keith Gory; Smart Care's Bill Emory, Brandon Helzer, and Gyner Ozgul. (Photo courtesy of Smart Care Equipment Solutions)
Now officially on its own after splitting from Ecolab at the start of the year, Smart Care Equipment Solutions on Monday made the first of what will be many acquisitions in the next several years.
 
Smart Care, a commercial kitchen repair and maintenance company headquartered in Ecolab’s former home, the Osborn370 building in St. Paul, said its deal for industry competitor Remco would bolster its position in southern states while growing its staff.
 
Remco, based in Birmingham, Alabama, serves customers in its home state, as well as Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida. The company employs more than 60 workers, 46 of which are trained service technicians that will join Smart Care’s existing technician team of more than 500 that service customers in every U.S. state.
 
“Remco has become the stand-out leader in commercial kitchen equipment service in the southeast,” said Smart Care CEO Bill Emory in a statement. “We are delighted to add Remco to the Smart Care family and are very pleased that [president and CEO] Rich Gory and [vice present of operations] Bruce Gory will continue to lead Remco.”
 
Smart Care did not disclose terms of the transaction, but Emory noted to Twin Cities Business that the deal was one of two to three acquisitions worth nearly $20 million that the company planned to make in the front half of 2018.
 
“Our goal is to grow by $30 million to $40 million each year,” Emory said. “When Smart Care was part of Ecolab, we grew organically from $130 million to $185 million in four years. We are now executing on a plan to double the size of our business in three to five years.”
 
Emory told the Star Tribune earlier this year he planned to grow Smart Care’s 900-employee operation into a half-a-billion-dollar company within five years. Its 2018 revenue is expected to be in the neighborhood of $200 million.
 
Ecolab sold Smart Care last August to Audax Group, a multi-billion-dollar middle market investment company out of Boston, for an undisclosed amount. The new ownership, Emory said, is what has helped fuel Smart Care’s acquisition push.
 
“Our growth plans have always included acquisitions and with the backing of private equity funding we are able to execute on that part of our strategy,” he said. “We are targeting white space opportunities and markets where we currently have operations and coverage, but what’s important to us is buying a well-run business with a management team that already shares our vision for quality of service and a commitment to both excellence and our people.”
 
Smart Care currently holds the largest foothold, a roughly 3 percent share, of the estimated $7.5 billion kitchen equipment maintenance and repair market, the Star Tribune reports. Although there’s growth in providing for full service and quick serve restaurants, Emory told TCB that the need is growing for Smart Care’s services in all of its customer categories, including health care, education, hospitality, government and corporate offices.
 
“We’re seeing an increased demand across all of our customer categories,” he said. “The commercial kitchen service industry has many service companies [and] growth opportunities for Smart Care’s buy and build national business model.”
 
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