Mason Wells Newsletter 2023 – Volume 1

March 13 2023
In This Issue
  • Mason Wells Announces Merger of Buffalo Games and EastPoint
  • Food Service Equipment & Supplies Magazine features SC
  • RJW Logistics Group Expands Retail Logistics Operations
  • Radius Packaging Named 2022 Plastics News Processor of the Year Finalist
  • Mason Wells Website Wins Gold at 2022 Davey Awards
  • Jay Radtke speaks at Smart Business Dealmakers Conference
  • Mason Wells Staff Promotions
Mason Wells Announces Merger of Buffalo Games and EastPoint

Mason Wells is pleased to announce the merger of two Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, LP portfolio companies, Buffalo Games and EastPoint Sports, which closed on January 31, 2023.

The combination of the two companies enhances Buffalo Games’ market leading family fun platform now comprised of an expanded portfolio of games and puzzles. EastPoint is a leader in the outdoor and indoor recreational games category and brings a complementary set of games to the Buffalo Games portfolio, including tailgate games and lawn games such as cornhole and ladderball, and indoor games such as darts and air hockey. EastPoint markets its products under owned and licensed brands such as NFL, NHL, Nerf, and KanJam. Both companies have significant presence in the mass retail, e-commerce, and specialty channels.

“We are thrilled to welcome the EastPoint team to our platform of market leading games. We identified the outdoor/indoor games category as a significant opportunity for growth, and we look forward to bringing enhanced innovation and excitement to the category through EastPoint’s market leading products,” said Buffalo Games CEO, Nagendra Raina.

Buffalo Games has become the leading family fun platform comprised of jigsaw puzzles and board, table, and party games for adults, children, and families. The Company is the largest designer and U.S. manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles working closely with artists and other licensors of artwork and images, including Thomas Kinkade, Star Wars, Charles Wysocki, among others. The Company’s leading games portfolio includes titles such as Watch Ya Mouth® and Skee-Ball®. In addition to licensed products, the Company’s owned brand, Chuckle & Roar, focuses on games and puzzles for preschool and young children. Buffalo Games manages an expansive portfolio of relationships with leading licensors, inventors, and artists that feed the Company’s internal innovation and product development functions led by a design team with deep industry experience.

For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

Food Service Equipment & Supplies Magazine features SC

The January 2023 issue of Food Service Equipment & Supplies Magazine featured Structural Concepts Corporation, a Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, LP portfolio company, for its independent study to test and understand the potential impact of open-front reach-in refrigerated coolers (open coolers) in comparison to reach-in refrigerators with glass doors (doored coolers).

Structural Concepts, headquartered in Muskegon, Michigan, is a designer and manufacturer of temperature-controlled food and beverage display cases for foodservice establishments and supermarkets focusing on perishables and prepared food.

In September 2022, Structural Concepts Corporation commissioned Kantar, a leading global data, insights, and consulting company, to conduct the independent study. Over six hundred participants, 18 years and older, were given two different shopper scenarios within a virtual reality store format followed by a series of questions.

In general, the open cooler design resonated with shoppers and participants gravitated more toward open coolers during the virtual exercise, buying 50% more and spending 10% less time at open coolers versus doored coolers. Participants also spent $1.23 more (or an additional 11%) when shopping from the open cooler, due primarily to easier access to food resulting in less time needed to shop. The study also indicated a favorability for open coolers in interactions, purchases, overall spending, and time spent interacting with the cooler.

Structural Concepts is passionate about innovative designs that help customers present food and beverages in a format to promote health and wellness and grab ’n go offerings. Structural Concepts applies its deep engineering capabilities to research and develop refrigerated merchandising solutions that work better, last longer, save energy, and minimize operating costs.

For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

RJW Logistics Group Expands Retail Logistics Operations

RJW Logistics Group, Inc., a leading provider of retail logistics solutions for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and a Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, LP portfolio company, recently announced the expansion of its retail logistics operation to the Dallas, Texas region, increasing its warehousing footprint to nearly six million total square feet.

The 600,000-square-foot Dallas-based warehouse is expected to ship more than 36 million cases annually, serve more than 200 CPG customers, and employ approximately 225 warehouse personnel. The warehouse represents the Company’s first in the greater Dallas area, serving as the flagship location for RJW’s one-inventory model in the South. The Company’s flexible, single-node model enables RJW to control inventory from one designated region, helping suppliers to avoid redundancies, reduce operational costs and compliance fees, improve efficiencies, and achieve higher in-stocks at the store level.

The Company currently provides national service from nine state-of-the-art consolidation warehouses in the central United States transportation hub of Chicago. RJW will replicate its centralized warehousing model in the greater Dallas area to serve consumer packaged goods customers in one of the nation’s fastest-growing trade corridors. “Establishing an operational hub in Dallas supports our ability to more effectively meet the needs of our existing customer base and onboard new CPG suppliers in a growing region,” said Kevin Williamson, Chief Executive Officer of RJW. “Centralized warehousing is a game changer for suppliers. They win by reducing costs and inventory hold while gaining efficiencies and improving scorecard performance. We use sophisticated data and technology systems to determine which of our two regional hubs is most advantageous and cost-effective for the supplier.”

RJW is committed to business practices that minimize its customers’ environmental footprint and promote sustainability. The Company’s LEED Silver Certified Dallas facility is equipped with LED, motion-activated lighting, and battery-powered equipment, and it recycles over 100 tons annually across its network. Additionally, suppliers decrease their environmental footprints through RJW’s leading Retail Consolidation Program, eliminating an average of 13 LTL shipments through one consolidated shipment.

For more information, please visit the Company’s website at

Radius Packaging Named 2022 Plastics News Processor of the Year Finalist

Radius Packaging, a leading manufacturer of rigid plastic packaging products, was recently featured in Plastics News as a 2022 Plastics News Processor of the Year finalist.

Applicants were evaluated on technological innovation, environmental performance, quality data, financial performance, customer and member relations, and public service. Radius, a Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, LP portfolio company, was one of four finalists that demonstrated excellence in all seven categories.

Plastics News applauded Radius, headquartered in New Berlin, Wisconsin, for its familial company culture, passion for member and community education, and industry leadership in sustainability.

Radius and other finalists were honored at the Plastics News Executive Forum on March 1, 2023, in Clearwater Beach, Florida.

For more information, please visit the Company’s website

Mason Wells Website Wins Gold at 2022 Davey Awards

In October 2022, Mason Wells launched a new website and its outside design-firm partner was awarded a Davey Gold Award in the Professional Services category for its work on the website.

The Davey is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), an invitation-only body of top-tier professionals from media, advertising, and marketing firms. AIVA members include executives from Conde Nast, Disney, GE, Keller Crescent, Microsoft,, MTV, and many others.

The Davey Awards is an international award focused exclusively on honoring outstanding creative work from the best small businesses worldwide. The 18th Annual Davey Awards received over 2,000 entries from ad agencies, digital agencies, production firms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design firms, and public relations firms.

Entries are judged to evaluate distinction in creative work. In determining the gold and silver winners, entries are judged on their merits based on a standard of excellence as determined by the AIVA, considering the category entered.

Please visit our website to view the innovative design,

Jay Radtke speaks at Smart Business Dealmakers Conference

Jay Radtke, Senior Managing Director at Mason Wells, was a key speaker at Husch Blackwell’s 2022 Smart Business Dealmakers Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Smart Business Dealmakers Conference connects thousands of local dealmakers, from middle-market Chief Executive Officers to top investors, lenders, and M&A advisors. 2022’s conference focused on M&A in a post-Covid world. Mr. Radtke spoke about how to be an effective buyer in this hyper-competitive and ever-changing environment and how Human Resources (HR) and supply chain take on increasing importance in a deal.

Since the pandemic, certain aspects of management have garnered more attention than they have in the past, and HR and supply chain are on the top of those lists, stated Mr. Radtke.

With new labor realities, increased attention on a company’s HR function has increased since there is greater scrutiny of issues such as turnover and open positions as well as the culture of a company. Talent is a critical competitive advantage, making effective recruitment and retention valuable.

Regarding the supply chain, one of the things that Mason Wells has done is to look at every one of their portfolio companies and analyze the price increases, material cost increases, and labor cost increases, and annualize these items starting back to January 2021, when this recent inflation started.

“We work on that with our teams every month because we believe pricing power is important in every business,” said Mr. Radtke. “And if you are not passing along price increases, you are going to be in a challenging position. You are starting to see that now with several target companies that are struggling, that have leveraged balance sheets and are not being able to get price increases because they have not been disciplined about that.”

While HR and supply chain remain critical diligence areas, Mr. Radtke says there has not been anything he’s seen in the past 12 months of acquisition work that would make Mason Wells drop a potential target entirely. Rather, when there are issues, the tendency is to try to find a way to turn it around and see it as an opportunity.

For Mr. Radtke’s full discussion, please visit

Mason Wells Staff Promotions

Effective January 1, 2023, Mason Wells Announced Staff Promotions

Chris Markgraf was promoted to Managing Director. Mr. Markgraf leads the firm’s Outsourced Business Services (OBS) sector. Since joining Mason Wells in 2016, Mr. Markgraf supported the initial investment in RJW Logistics Group, a Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, LP portfolio company, and subsequent sales growth and value creation. He played a critical role in leading the closing of SWAT Group, Inc., a Mason Wells Buyout Fund IV, LP portfolio company. He also led the recent closing of an undisclosed tech-enabled insurance services business, a Mason Wells Buyout Fund V, LP portfolio company. Mr. Markgraf was also a former Board member of A&R Logistics and Whitehall Specialties, portfolio companies in Mason Wells Buyout Fund III, LP. Mr. Markgraf currently serves on the Board of Directors of RJW Logistics Group, SWAT Group, Inc., and the tech-enabled insurance services business. He previously served in the role of Director at Mason Wells.

Jeff Davidson was promoted to Managing Director of Research. Since joining the firm in 2015, Mr. Davidson has been instrumental in developing the Research function at Mason Wells. He is the firm’s first Managing Director of Research and supports the Mason Wells deal teams by assessing new investments and researching current and future market trends of new platforms and tuck-in investments. He assists in several business development efforts and supports existing portfolio companies on specific new products, market, and return on investment (ROI)/value prop assessments. Mr. Davidson manages the firm’s various third-party market intelligence services. He previously served in the role of Director of Research.

Dan Shanahan was promoted to Director. Mr. Shanahan joined the firm in 2018 and is one of the fastest-promoted employees to Director in the firm’s history. He has successfully supported several investments from sourcing, execution, and portfolio development across all four of Mason Wells’ sectors; Consumer Packaged Goods (Onyx Brands), Engineered Products and Services (Structural Concepts Corporation), Outsourced Business Services (RJW Logistics), and Packaging Materials and Converting (Industrial Labels Holdings). Mr. Shanahan currently serves on the Board of Directors of Onyx Brands and Structural Concepts Corporation. He previously served in the roles of Associate, Senior Associate, and Vice President. Moving forward, Mr. Shanahan will co-lead the EPS sector.

Jacob Simons was promoted to Senior Associate. Since joining Mason Wells in 2020, Mr. Simons’ primary responsibility is supporting the Mason Wells Buyout Funds investment activities. As Senior Associate of Mason Wells, Mr. Simons is responsible for new investment analysis, financial modeling, market research, due diligence support, and the monitoring of portfolio companies. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of KDV Labels, LLC. Mr. Simons previously served in the role of Associate at Mason Wells.

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