Imagine our surprise several weeks ago with the SNEWSÂ® phone rang and on
the other end is a gentleman querying us about Moonstone's and Roffe's
value and industry reputation. Seems that Amerex Group Inc., parent
company of The Gerry Group (Gerry, Roffe, Demetre, Mambosok, Tempco,
Stream Designs, Bombshell, and Moonstone) has begun seriously shopping
Moonstone with the intent of divesting itself of the brand as soon as
possible, according to our sources.
Naturally, we contacted Gordon McFadden, president of the Gerry Group, for comment.
"We have refocused the business to a sales and marketing focus, with
that arm of the business remaining here in Seattle," says McFadden.
"Accounting, customer service and finance will be moving to the Amerex
New York offices effective July 1. In addition, the warehouse is moving
from an old Roffe facility to an Amerex-owned facility -- still in
When we pressed McFadden to confirm or deny the truth behind the sale
of Moonstone commentary, he simply said that their company had been
contacted by several firms interested in purchasing Moonstone and
Roffe. He also commented that this was nothing unusual.
"The two companies are continuing and we are driving the business,"
McFadden told SNEWSÂ®. "We had a terrific Moonstone sales meeting, we are
making samples, we are printing workbooks, and we expect to be at
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market."
Brokers do not call SNEWSÂ® querying about the worth of a prospective
brand unless the brand is seriously for sale and the buyers are
seriously interested. Bob Schoonmaker, sales and marketing manager for
Moonstone, has done a terrific job resurrecting a very damaged brand,
but if the ownership keeps changing, his job does not get any easier.
From founder Fred Williams to Hap and the failed OIG experiment to
Esprit to Gerry to what?? All in less than 10 years? That's not a
recipe for consistency or success. Schoonmaker tells SNEWSÂ® they have
some terrific product and, finally, an outstanding sleeping bag line.
We think those offerings sound wonderful. However, retailers are taking
less risks than ever, especially with sleeping bag sales in the toilet.
It will be a tough road ahead to convince any retailer to trust a brand
whose ownership keeps changing faster than Elizabeth Taylor worked
through husbands. Bottom line here, Amerex probably wants to divest
itself of Moonstone simply because Amerex specializes in prepack sales
to large retail accounts -- not specialty service that requires
planning, consistent focus and, dare we say it, buying terms with