ORC Industries to Buy Bell Canoe
Oct. 2, 2006 – ORC Industries announced the signing of an agreement with Ted Bell to acquire the assets of Bell Canoe Works of Princeton, Minnesota. Bell's manufacturing operation will be moved to the ORC complex in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and become part of the company's growing Outdoor Group. Ted Bell will remain with Bell/ORC to assist with the transition, and he has signed a multi-year agreement to stay on to establish a new division, Bell Racing.
See the Canoe & Kayak story here.
"We are very excited to invite both Ted and Bell Canoe to ORC's growing family of outdoor recreational products," explained Todd Bahnub, ORC's Vice President. "Bell builds the best canoes in the paddling industry, and we plan to maintain their reputation for unequalled quality and performance."
Bahnub went on to explain that ORC's manufacturing and personnel resources will allow Bell Canoe to build higher year-round inventory levels, reducing the need for mandatory pre-season ordering. ORC will focus on next-day shipping of reorders, and develop a custom-build program for key dealers. He also described plans for an aggressive marketing effort to increase Bell's market share in New England and the Midwest, and expand Bell's brand presence and product availability into those regions of the country where their distribution is limited.
"I think Bell's network of loyal dealers will be pleased with what they see in the next few months," Bahnub elaborated. "We're a very different kind of company than most retailers have ever dealt with, and our size, corporate mission and resources will help us meet the needs of independent paddlesports dealers better than any other manufacturer in the paddling market."
ORC Industries was founded in 1966 as a nonprofit employer of people with disabilities, and the company has grown to become one of the larger employers of disabled Americans in the manufacturing sector. For over four decades, ORC Industries has successfully met its mission statement: "To advance the independence, productivity, and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities through employment opportunities." With over 750 employees located in five manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin and Texas, the company is a major supplier of uniforms, technical apparel and equipment to the U.S. military. ORC also maintains fully staffed engineering and quality control departments, and operates two on-site wellness facilities for their employees.
Bell Canoe is the second acquisition for the growing ORC Outdoor Group, which purchased Redfeather Snowshoes last winter.