Winnipeg (May 4, 2009) – Gaspard was founded in 1909 by Frederic E. Gaspard Sr. in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After more than three decades, the leadership of the business transitioned to his son, Mr. Frederic T. Gaspard Jr., who ran the Company until his passing in January, 2008. The Company began by manufacturing church vestments and choir gowns, expanding into academic regalia in the 1940’s. Today, Gaspard is a leading North American provider of academic regalia, clergy vestments, choral robes, and legal and judicial attire with manufacturing and distribution locations in Winnipeg, Toronto, Minneapolis and Puerto Rico.
Ironbridge is a Toronto-based private equity firm whose strategy is to make equity investments in high-quality Canadian private companies in the manufacturing, distribution and consumer and business products and services industries. Westerkirk is a private investment firm based in Toronto, Ontario. Westerkirk’s goal is to invest in successful businesses with great operating histories. Westerkirk’s investment objective is to maintain its ownership interests over the long-term.
“After much deliberation since the passing of Fred, I decided to sell the business to Ironbridge and Westerkirk. I am confident that the new owners will continue the successful growth of the business in partnership with the same dedicated group of managers, employees, sales representatives, suppliers and loyal customers,” said Inge Gaspard, past President of Gaspard.
“Ironbridge is very excited about partnering with Westerkirk to buy the business from the Gaspard family and to be a part of the next chapter in the Company’s growth. The business is well positioned strategically and led by a dedicated and loyal group of employees,” said Al Sellery, Managing Partner of Ironbridge and newly-appointed Chairman of Gaspard LP.
“As a long term investor in Canadian private companies, Gaspard is a natural investment for Westerkirk,” said Jim Lawson, President & CEO of Westerkirk and newly-appointed board member of Gaspard LP. “We like the long operating history of the company, the predictable demand of the cap and gown business and the growth opportunities in front of us.”