February 2021- Garden District Book Shop sale tops February M&A activity

March 9, 2021

CityBusiness March 8, 2021 https://bit.ly/3l0myjf

By: G. F. Gay Le Breton and Ryan Gerton

The iconic Garden District Book Shop has sold after 40 years in business.

Founder Briton Trice sold the store in February to a group of three locals: Carroll Gelderman, Barkley Rafferty and Christopher Tidmore, who have revered the book shop since their childhoods. Trice reached out to Rafferty, knowing that for many years she had told her friend, his daughter Eliza, that if her father ever wanted to sell the store, Barkley wanted to be the purchaser.

The new owners have already begun to make some changes, including converting a store room into a children’s reading room.  They also plan to add a combination café, wine bar and bistro next door by mid-year.

The Garden District Book Shop, located at 2727 Prytania St., is famous for its events, its collection of signed books and for appearances by famous authors including New Orleans native Anne Rice. The new owners plan to honor Trice at an event on March 13, in keeping with the store’s history, at a book signing for another New Orleanian, author Walter Isaacson, for his new book, “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race.”

Terms of the transaction were not announced. Trice will be a consultant to the store for two years, aiding in the transfer of this independent book shop. According to the online newsletter “Shelf Awareness,” Trice also plans to revive his publishing company, BE Trice Publishing, which focused on collectible limited editions by Cormac McCarthy, Anne Rice, Richard Ford, James Lee Burke and others.

In another February transaction, Kenner-based, 40-year industry veteran UP Professional Solutions agreed to sell to PTS Advance, another staffing and recruiting firm. PTS Advance was itself purchased in September 2020 by the HUDDL3 Group.   UP Professional provides staffing services for the energy industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The transaction stems from a year-long partnership between UP’s CEO Michele Wind and PTS’ founders, the Stein family. They found significant overlap regarding the two companies’ values and missions and determined that a partnership would accelerate technological developments, boost efficiency and grow business. The two will continue to operate under their own respective brands, with a vision to combine under one brand by January 2022.

Also in February, iTA Truck Sales and Service, a subsidiary of Schilling Acquisitions, LLC, paid $5.5 million for Baton Rouge’s Timmons Truck Center including a 44,000-square-foot building on 7.5 acres. TTC sells Navistar’s International line of trucks, tractors and busses. The deal also includes Idealease, which leases out over 500 International trucks to local businesses.

Since its founding in 2009, Lafayette-based iTA has grown to six International dealers across Lafayette, New Orleans, Houma, Lake Charles, Slidell and now Baton Rouge. According to iTA’s CEO, Chris Schouest, this transaction has elevated iTA to become the leading medium-duty truck dealership in south Louisiana, which also has more than $4 million in parts and inventory. The Timmons dealership will house about 25 to 30 of iTA’s 120 employees, some being new hires.

G. F. Gay Le Breton is managing director for Chaffe & Associates Inc., responsible for the merger and acquisition activities of the firm. Ryan Gerton is financial analyst for the firm. Investment banking services are provided by Chaffe Securities Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.