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Kahn Family Sells Croscill after 62 Years

Equity Fund Buys Textiles Legacy

Croscill is passing into new hands after 62 years and three generations of business by the founding Kahn family.

Croscill Acquisition LLC, a new company owned by the managed investment funds of Patriarch Partners, LLC, last week acquired substantially all of the operating assets of Croscill, Inc. and affiliates for an undisclosed sum.

"We are excited for the opportunity to add the Croscill brand to the Patriarch funds' portfolio of great and historic brand names," said Patriarch ceo Lynn Tilton. "The Kahn family has built the marquee name in home fashion over the last five decades; we are honored to take the baton and to continue the legacy," Tilton said.

Croscill ceo Doug Kahn — who ran the company along with his late brother David until the latter's death in 2005 — has stepped down. Croscill finance officer Tony Casella, a 27-year veteran of the company, will remain on board as an interim consultant for three months.

"We wish Patriarch the best in writing the next chapter of the Croscill story," departing ceo Doug Kahn said. "Their understanding of turbulent markets should help them position the company for long-term success. Croscill employees, customers and suppliers will find new ownership that shares our commitment to continuing a rich legacy of innovation and product excellence."

Croscill's roots go back to the 1924 founding of Ellery Curtain, so named after Ellery Street in New York, by brothers Max, Abe and George Kahn along with Sophie Schwartz. Abe and George split off to form Croscill in 1946. George's son Mike eventually became president, then ceo when his father and uncle retired. Mike's brother Stanley became a key executive as well, joining the company in 1962. In 1983, Mike bought out Abe's family.

Mike's son David came on board in the 1980s, followed by brother Doug in 1993, who headed the North Carolina distribution and cut-and-sew operations as well as the Royal Home division. David became Croscill president in the early '90s.

The high-flying company hit choppy weather in recent years as some of its biggest accounts shifted toward in-house brands. Its estimated sales volume of approximately $150 million this year represents a steep decline from its peak of $325 million in 2001.

Patriarch's Tilton still sees value in Croscill's name and fashion perspective. "The entire consumer sector has been weakened by the recent economic crisis, but we maintain that strong brands will weather the storm and thrive," she said in a statement.

Founded by Tilton in 2000, Patriarch is an investment firm that concentrates on direct investments in operating companies; its funds have over $6 billion of equity and secured loan assets in 65 companies, and controlling interests in about two-thirds of these.

The Patriarch textiles portfolio includes Glenoit (parent of Ex-Cell Home Fashions), hospitality supplier Best Textiles, trim supplier Bomar Industries International, dyer/printer/finisher Duro Textiles, fabric house Galey & Lord (once a division of the old Burlington Industries), and sports apparel company Hartwell Industries.

"We look forward to working with the Patriarch team," said Carl Legreca, president, Croscill. "They appreciate and plan to build upon our long track record of design leadership."

Patriarch said it will operate Croscill's core operations, "building upon the strength of the core brand, expanding its distribution internationally and coordinating with other consumer platform companies" in the Patriarch portfolio "to create operating efficiencies and to capitalize upon synergies."

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