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What’s in a Name? At Colfax Creek, It’s a Story

I am often asked, “Where did Colfax Creek come from?”

I wanted a name that was relevant to me and to the path that led me to where I am today.  I spent months brainstorming names and ruling them out because they didn’t fit my story.  That’s what a name does…it tells a story.  It may be passed from generation to generation, bestowed in some way that represents your family’s history.  That’s what I wanted for this firm…a meaningful name that represents my priorities, values, and heritage.

Finding the Right Name

At first, I spent months on a running list of possible names based on streets and natural features in my adopted state of Michigan.  But that’s just it…my path to Michigan began outside of ‘The Mitten’.  It began in my hometown of Colfax, Illinois, a small farming community with a population of 1,036.  A quick Google search of Colfax led me to Colfax Corporation, a publicly traded industrial business.  I knew I would cause too much confusion if I just used Colfax; the name needed to be more distinct.

That’s how I ended up on Google Maps, zooming over my hometown.  I began to note that the little stream that ran through town actually had a name, Colfax Creek.  I knew that stream well…I just never knew it had a name.

Down by the Crick

You see, I grew up on a corn and soybean farm three miles from town and “the Crick”, as we called that stream of water, ran along the end of our corn fields about a half-mile behind our home.  The Crick was a magical place in my childhood.  I passed many hours fishing, wading, shooting my BB gun, building forts, camping, and floating inner tubes with my siblings and friends.  It was a childhood paradise.  Those moments made up an awesome childhood experience that cultivated my imagination, self-reliance, and intrinsic motivation.  It was a destination after a hot day of walking beans, shucking sweet corn, and observing my father and his fellow farmers work together to produce something significant.  My upbringing in small town America, where everyone knows each other and reputations are built over decades and lost overnight, taught me that relationships matter.

I had my name…Colfax Creek.  It is a constant reminder of small town America where life was viewed with a long-term approach and based on the relationships that you formed whether for business or friendship.


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GLE Precision Puts a Face on Middle-Market Business

The Michigan Manufacturer Makes Products That Fit in Your Palm, but Its Reach Goes Much Further

CHAUNIE BRUSIE | AUGUST 10, 2017 | http://middlemarketgrowth.org

Tucked behind the main street of Frankenmuth, Michigan, where Bavarian architecture, world-famous chicken dinners and horse-drawn carriages are town trademarks, stands the grinding facility of GLE Precision.

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Middle Market Growth: The Strength of Small

The Strength of Small: GLE Precision Helps Manufacturers Meet Stringent Quality Requirements

S.A. SWANSON | MAY 17, 2017 | middlemarketgrowth.org

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Colfax Creek Leads Recapitalization of Twist and Seal

Finding the right investor makes a difference. Any firm can invest in a company and provide capital, but Colfax Creek invests as a dedicated, long-term partner to drive business growth. That personal touch helped Colfax Creek founder Jason Duzan stand out against the competition in leading a recent recapitalization of Midwest Innovative Products, who does business as Twist and Seal, with the management team.

“After entertaining numerous offers from investment partners, Jason instantly rose to the top,” Twist and Seal founder and CEO Bryan Nooner said. “As a seasoned entrepreneur and founder of Midwest Innovative Products, I was looking for a partner that offered more than just capital. Having a partner that provided access to the appropriate funding was certainly important; however, it was not the key decision-making factor. Having the ‘right fit’ partner that understood both our current and future business needs was actually the critical hurdle that needed to be overcome.”

Colfax Creek’s investment will support Nooner in his vision to grow the Twist and Seal product line into more retailers, expand into new end markets, and introduce new products.

Based in the Chicago suburb of Frankfort, Twist and Seal designs and manufactures patented devices that protect electrical cords from water damage. The device snaps over where two cords plug together or where cords plug into a multi-plug power strip to keep snow, rain, and ice from affecting the connection. Twist and Seal serves a wide range of customers, including homeowners hanging Christmas lights, zoos, industrial operations, entertainment venues, construction sites, and municipalities.

Each Twist and Seal product has gone through rigorous lab testing, has been certified to industry standards and is manufactured in the U.S. Twist and Seal is a three-time recipient of the Most Innovative Product of the Year award at the National Hardware Show. Twist and Seal products can be found at most hardware stores, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Walmart.

“I am excited to partner with Bryan Nooner to continue to grow the Twist and Seal business,” Jason said. “I believe Twist and Seal is a real gem that has innovative and unique products, fantastic retail partners and, most importantly, a passionate CEO. Twist and Seal is a good fit for Colfax Creek, as we can leverage my experiences and resources leading investments in numerous consumer products businesses.”

The Colfax Creek Difference

  • The Colfax Creek difference starts before a deal has ever been made. Jason shows up at the table with 20 years of private equity experience, a willingness to develop a plan that works well for Colfax Creek and the company, and the drive to create an even better company together.
  • “Jason’s straight-forward and insightful demeanor demonstrated a tremendous amount of business acumen along with respect and caring for me and our growing organization,” Nooner said. “I really appreciated the ‘stick-to-it’ intensity level that Jason brought to the due diligence and acquisition process. He has developed a very efficient and thorough acquisition methodology that does not overburden the management team, allowing the company to focus on its operations. From the first meeting to closing, Jason kept his team on task and always followed through with what he said he would do. As a result of our partnership with Jason and his Colfax Creek organization, I am confident that our company is now positioned with the necessary strategic leadership and capital to grow.”

A Friend in the Business

  • As a private investment firm, Colfax Creek focuses on “smaller” middle market companies in the Great Lakes states where the team’s expertise can have the most impact and utilizing relationships to find outstanding operating partners and companies.
  • Andrew Chidester, an investment banker with Metolius Partners Inc., introduced Jason to Twist and Seal and the opportunity to recapitalize the company. Metolius helps companies find the best solution for their liquidity needs by assisting business owners with raising capital, selling assets, merging, and purchasing other businesses.
  • “It was a pleasure working with Colfax Creek on the successful closing of Twist and Seal,” Chidester “Jason and the Colfax Creek team were consummate professionals throughout the transaction process and delivered on the deal terms they initially proposed. Twist and Seal has gained a valuable partner in Colfax Creek, and I expect Twist and Seal to achieve significant success in the near future.”

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Introducing Colfax Creek Capital

Colfax Creek Capital isn’t just about making investments. It’s about building businesses to create lasting value for all the business’s stakeholders. I am focusing on “smaller” middle market companies in the Great Lakes states working with management and like-minded capital partners to improve their operations and grow their business over the long-term.

In the last 20 years, I’ve led nearly $2 billion in private investment transactions and managed or co-managed investments in 12 platform companies with EBITDA of $3 million to $12 million in the consumer products, services, and industrials sectors. I’ve sourced investment opportunities, closed those investments, worked with management to enhance value, and realized many of those investments.

Now I’m leveraging those years of private investment experience to invest in businesses where I have a greater level of involvement in the company’s success. Colfax Creek, named for my hometown in Illinois, is about building relationships and developing partnerships to create long-term value. I’m interested in working with people who are committed and passionate about a business and value integrity, transparency, and candor.

An Experienced Equity Partner

My investment experience includes leading deal negotiations, performing due diligence, financing, recruiting and retaining management teams and developing an investment strategy. Here is an overview of four different businesses I was previously involved with.

  • ACE Bakery — Produces and markets 35 varieties of European-style artisan bread and other baked goods that are marketed in Canada and the United States.
  • Encore Rehabilitation Services — Provides outcome-driven rehabilitative therapy services to skilled nursing facilities, assisted-living facilities, and home health agencies.
  • Moosejaw — A leading online retailer, Moosejaw also sells outdoor apparel and equipment through retail stores and seasonal catalogs. Moosejaw offers its own Moosejaw brand and major names in outdoor products, such as North Face, Patagonia, and Canada Goose.
  • Fusion Education Group — Operates a network of private middle and high schools that offer each student a one-on-one education tailored to their learning differences.

Investment Focus

Colfax Creek will focus on the smaller side of middle market companies in the Great Lakes states – operations within a drive of Detroit.  Staying closer to home allows me to spend more time working with each company to deliver more resources by utilizing my regional connections to improve the long-term health and success of my companies.

Life is too short to work with people you don’t like. The people factor is critical. I’m interested in building a partnership with the right companies run by the right people.

To find the best opportunities for Colfax Creek, I’ve developed investment guidelines.

Geography — Companies that operate in the Great Lakes states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin)  or generally easy for me to visit.

Investment structure — Control investments or shared control with like-minded investors.

Company EBITDA — $2 to $7 million (or larger if I have a significant operational edge) with 10 percent or greater operating margins.

Industry focus — Consumer products, services, and industrials.

Management team — Prefer to support the existing management team or with limited management transitions.

When Everything Comes Together

Colfax Creek isn’t the right investment firm for every company. I am selective about the companies I invest in, as I am not just making a financial investment. It is personal. I am investing my time, energy and talent to help our collective vision succeed.

Visit Colfax Creek at colfaxcreek.com to learn more who we are.


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Colfax Creek Acquires Tool-Mod

BIRMINGHAM, MI – Colfax Creek Capital (Colfax Creek), a private investment firm focused on “smaller’ middle market companies, has partnered with the principals of Die Life Systems of Minneapolis, MN to launch Tool-Mod.  Tool-Mod’s proprietary process extends the useful life of die cast tools when serviced at regular intervals (usually 20,000 to 30,000 cycles). The process will also treat cracks of previously heat checked tools without adding material or changing the dimensions. The tool will exhibit less soldering with better oil retention, better casting fill, and slower gate degradation. Colfax Creek’s investment will support the acquisition of Tool-Mod and the company’s growth initiatives as it expands into regional markets.

“Tool-Mod’s service is been used for years to close up surface cracks and to prolong tooling life which reduces the need for costly tooling replacement,” said Jason Duzan, at Colfax Creek. “I am excited to partner with the principals of Die Life to relaunch the business across the US.”

About Colfax Creek Capital

Colfax Creek Capital takes a long-term approach to investing in “smaller” middle market companies by building relationships with business owners and management teams to focus our capital and resources to create lasting value and a shared purpose.  Colfax Creek’s investment focus includes Midwestern companies in consumer product, service and industrial sectors.  Colfax Creek is based in Birmingham, MI. For more information visit: www.colfaxcreek.com.

About Tool-Mod

Based in Michigan, Tool-Mod is a tool and die restoration specialist and maintenance service company. With a maintenance program, Tool-Mod’s proprietary process extends the tool’s life up to 35% longer while producing better parts with less scrap. For more information visit: www.tool-mod.com.


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Colfax Creek Acquires GLE in Precision Machining Industry

BIRMINGHAM, MI – Colfax Creek Capital (Colfax Creek), a private investment firm focused on “smaller’ middle market companies, has acquired GLE Precision, LLC (GLE).  GLE is a precision manufacturer of tungsten carbide tooling, gauges and product components used in diversified industries, including water jet, computer chip, medical, battery, flow technologies, automotive and others for some of the most recognizable companies in the world such as Johnson & Johnson, Emerson, IBM, and Bosch. GLE is a “make-to-print” manufacturer for tooling, gages and product components that require high finishes, tight tolerances, and high resistance-to-wear properties.  Colfax Creek’s investment will support the acquisition of GLE and the company’s growth initiatives as it expands into new end markets.

“GLE is uniquely positioned to work with many of the world’s best manufacturers both in the US and internationally with capabilities of extremely tight tolerances and high finishes that are difficult to find across the globe,” said Jason Duzan, at Colfax Creek. “I am excited to partner with Mr. Bucholz and the management team to reinvigorate the company for future growth.”

Clint Bucholz, president of GLE, added, “Colfax Creek provides a long-term perspective to investing and business to support our growth initiatives, including adding new equipment and processes to better serve new and existing customers.”

About Colfax Creek Capital

Colfax Creek takes a long-term approach to investing in “smaller” middle market companies by building relationships with business owners and management teams to focus our capital and resources to create lasting value and a shared purpose.  Colfax Creek’s investment focus includes Midwestern companies in consumer product, service, and industrial sectors.  GLE Precision is Colfax Creek’s first control investment and is based in Birmingham, MI.  For more information visit: www.colfaxcreek.com.

About GLE Precision

Founded in 1961 and headquartered in Bridgeport, MI, GLE is a niche build-to-print manufacturer of highly-engineered tooling, gauges, and product components used in a broad range of applications where hardness and resistance to abrasive wear are of prime importance. GLE is capable of machining and grinding a wide range of ceramic and carbide products with an emphasis on carbide tooling, carbide components, carbide cylindrical gauges and masters, high-pressure intensifiers, and other special wear parts.  For more information visit: www.gle-precision.com.


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