Grainger selling three brands

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Saturday, May 7, 2011
— Chicago-based Grainger said Thursday that it plans to sell three of its specialty brands as part of an effort to focus on its core brands.

The planned sale of Gempler’s, Ben Meadows and AW Direct is expected to have minimal impact on Grainger Specialty Brands in Janesville.

“We remain very much committed to our Janesville operation and its team,” company spokeswoman Kelly France said. “It will be business as usual in Janesville, which continues to play a valuable role.”

Grainger employs more than 800 people in Janesville.

France said Grainger plans to focus more on its Lab Safety Supply and Imperial brands, which she said overlap with Grainger’s core offerings and distribution capabilities.

Lab Safety serves the safety industry, while Imperial targets fleet operators.

France said the three brands offered for sale are primarily supported out of a Madison office. Less than 5 percent of the workers in Janesville support the brands, she said.

“Once we identify a buyer, we’ll see where it goes,” she said about the possibility of employee displacement.

Gempler’s sells outdoor products, Ben Meadows services forestry professionals and AW Direct targets tow truck operators.

France said the potential sale is a result of an ongoing assessment of Grainger’s specialty brands, the growth opportunities they present and how well they align with Grainger’s core business.

In a similar assessment, Grainger sold its Highsmith brand, a library services provider, to the Madison-based Demco in December.

Last updated: 5:16 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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