One of the largest providers of outdoor gear in the U.S., Exxel Outdoors, has added another company to its brand list, the wader and and rainwear maker Compass 360, headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama. Compass 360 was founded in 2015 and operated independently until the acquisition.
"The deal was finalized about a month ago but negotiations started about a year earlier," said Harry Kazazian, the CEO of Exxel. "As the pandemic started to become serious in March, we had to sit back and weigh the pros and cons of going through with it. But you don't make deals based on what’s best in the next two months. You make them based on what’s best a year from now, or two years from now. We felt this was still a good time to go forward."
The new brand will bolster Exxel's hunting and fishing category, which Kazazian says has a lot of potential for growth in the coming months.
"We believe that fishing is one of the sports that’s increasing in popularity right now. During these downturns, people may not get on an airplane, but camping and fishing are some of the things you can still do," he said. A release announcing the deal also identifies fishing and camping as two sports that "consistently rank in the top five most popular outdoor activities across all demographics, according to the latest Outdoor Industry Association study."
Kazazian further said that Exxel's hunting category "needed a little more volume to be relevant," and that Compass 360's products will meet that need.
Perhaps most important during this moment of crisis, the deal will also "bolster Exxel’s ability to retain jobs at its Broomfield, Colorado, headquarters and Reno, Nevada, distribution center," according to the release.
"I felt it’s probably a better time to do this than ever," Kazazian said. "It will protect jobs."