Griffin Financial Group Serves as Exclusive Investment Banker to Design Master

Company Overview

DESIGN MASTER color tool inc. (“Design Master,” or the “Company”) is the premier provider of innovative, responsible and versatile specialty aerosol color spray solutions for floral and decorative projects. The Company, headquartered in Boulder, CO, operated independently from its founding in 1961 until it was acquired in 1990 by Pennock Floral Company (“Pennock”). Pennock, an industry leading floral wholesaler, successfully owned and operated Design Master as an independent subsidiary for the following 30 years. Design Master is regarded as a thought leader within its industry and is a globally recognized brand within its market niche distributing its product world-wide. Design Master’s aerosol paint products have been manufactured on a sole-sourced basis through the same OEM partner for over 50 years.


After decades of successful operation, Design Master suffered a significant decline in sales for a portion of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related impact on the floral industry. Following a sharp decline in the earlier stages of the pandemic, demand for Design Master’s products sprung back in late 2020 and early 2021. The Company’s order processing and logistical operations struggled to accommodate new order volume, resulting in large backlogs and difficulty in fulfilling customer orders in a timely manner. Facing ongoing uncertainty, Pennock reached the conclusion that Design Master needed to integrate into a larger organization with more mature distribution capabilities, preferably serving similar markets. 


Griffin was engaged by Design Master as its exclusive investment banker to solicit offers to purchase the Company. Griffin managed a competitive sale process involving a targeted group of strategic buyers which ultimately resulted in Design Master being acquired by Smithers-Oasis Company (“Smithers”). Smithers, headquartered in Kent, OH, is a leading global organization manufacturing and marketing an array of products to the floral industry.

For more information on this transaction, please contact Griffin’s Thomas G. Whalen, Senior Managing Director, at 610.205.6115, or Thomas A. Hill, Senior Vice President, at 610.478.2034. For more information on Griffin’s services in general, contact any one of our investment banking professionals.