In the first of what could be many such deals, a young Med City company recently acquired an East Coast stoneworks business with the support of a private equity sponsor.

Outdoor Living Supply, a distribution firm focused on “hardscape” materials such as natural and man-made paver stones and other building materials, recently announced the purchase of New Jersey-based Geo. Schofield Co., Inc. Financial terms were not released.

The 98-year-old Schofield is a top seller of natural stone products. It operates nine wholesale distribution centers and five production facilities in Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. It has about 135 employees.

Brian Price, CEO and founder of Outdoor Living, sees the Schofield deal as the first stone in the foundation of a company he has been dreaming of since 2004.

“It’s all about timing,” he said.

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Price and his team put together a business proposal for private equity sponsors in early spring of 2020, just as the pandemic spurred a boom in outdoor living and patios.

“The timing was right. Who would have thought COVID would have focused a magnifying glass on our industry? We got lucky with our timing,” he said.

Brian Price
Brian PriceSubmitted by Outdoor Living Supply

That interest attracted 31 private equity firms to woo Outdoor Living. In late 2020, they chose to partner with Trilantic North America in New York City.

“We were immediately impressed by OLS’ concept of creating a nationwide distribution platform that’s squarely focused on hardscapes and believe the management’s tenures in the space, combined with their emphasis on integrating digital tools into this otherwise physical industry, will be key enablers to OLS’ success,” stated Trilantic partner Charles Fleischmann in the announcement of the Schofield acquisition.

The funds raised by Trilantic for Outdoor Living opens the door for growth well beyond this first deal.

“Our goal is to eventually have 150 branches,” said Price.

The roots of the Outdoor Living concept grew from Price’s 35 years of experience with his family’s longtime Rochester portfolio of concrete businesses, including Rockwood Retaining Walls and Silvercreek Stoneworks. The companies, led by brothers Jeff and Chris Price, develop and manufacture a large array of concrete products.

Brian Price said he transitioned from president of Rockwood and made sure the family operation was in good shape under his brothers’ leadership.

The Price/Rockwood companies focus on development and manufacturing in the Midwest, while Outdoor Living is targeting distribution in the“Smile states,” stretching along a curve in the southern U.S. from coast to coast.

Outdoor Living also has other industry veterans as leaders, including Chief Operating Officer Jesse Cravath and Chief Financial Officer Brian Reilly.