Here’s a look at a select Gryphon portfolio company case study—evidence of the firm’s strategy and strength in the Consumer Group, including our focused efforts around partnering with management teams, optimizing operations and pursuing strategies that cement market leadership.
Eight O’Clock Coffee
Gryphon identified an undervalued corporate “gem” in 2003 within the attractive coffee industry. With a 150-year history, Eight O’Clock Coffee was an under-managed brand that had managed to capture 50%+ share of the packaged whole bean coffee market in the United States. Operating within a distressed, cash-constrained grocery chain, Eight O’Clock Coffee relied on its corporate owner for corporate services, office space, and management resources. Gryphon recognized the opportunity for growth if the brand were able to operate as an independent entity.
Since acquiring the company in late 2003 with Barbara Roth, Eight O’Clock’s President and subsequent CEO, a plan for growth has been pursued and key milestones met. Under Roth and Gryphon’s leadership, a new team was brought on, including a CFO, VP of Sales, and VP of Operations. We orchestrated the national introduction of a ground coffee product line, implemented new IT systems, improved manufacturing operations, and relocated the company’s stand-alone corporate headquarters. The team also created and launched an exciting TV advertising campaign—the first in Eight O’Clock Coffee’s 150-year history.
The result of Gryphon’s focused build and lead strategy? In record time, Eight O’Clock Coffee was positioned as a company on the move, with a distinct value gourmet product offering and independent capabilities to guide its own destiny. The return? Gryphon exited its investment in Eight O’Clock Coffee in 2006, realizing 3x its original investment and an IRR of 60+%.