In 2019, Noverra was approached by a business broker representing Mike and Gaylene Slocum, the Founders/Owners of Victory Fire Protection, based in Antioch, California. Victory Fire was a competitor of Thorpe Design and Mike and Gaylene had founded and run Victory Fire for close to twenty years. Mike and Gaylene were interested in transitioning to their next phase in life, which included a desire to spend more time with family, and the financial stability to be gained from selling their business.

The size of business, geographic location, market demand for fire protection services in California, a strong internal team, and a history of good operating results was compelling to Noverra. As a competitor to Thorpe, it also presented an opportunity for strategic acquisition and to become the largest fire protection outfit in Northern California.

Although Noverra’s acquisition model is typically to acquire good companies, like Victory Fire Protection, and leave them as stand-alone operations, Mike and Gaylene recognized that the scale of combining Thorpe Design and Victory Fire would create value for both employees through career growth opportunities, and customers through the larger scale of operations.

In advance of talking through the potential price and terms of an acquisition of Victory Fire, the Noverra Co-Founders spent several months with Mike and Gaylene discussing the principles which would guide a merger between Thorpe Design and Victory Fire, if we were to proceed. Ensuring that we had an alignment of principles on how to create value for both Thorpe Design and Victory employees and customers through a merger was a key parameter to any deal.

As part of the deal structure, post-sale, Mike and Gaylene continued to run Victory Fire as a stand-alone business for one year. This enabled the management at Victory Fire to get more comfortable with Noverra and Noverra to get more knowledge about the management team members so that the positions that would exist in the merged company could be filled by the best people to fill those roles regardless of which company they originally worked for.

After one year, Victory Fire merged with Thorpe Design and its operations and staff were merged into Thorpe Design. Mike and Gaylene remained in the business for six months post-merger to support the integration and then transitioned to their next phase.

Through the deal process, the Noverra team worked with Mike and Gaylene to create a deal structure that met both their financial and non-financial desires.

These included:

  • continuing to run the business independently from Thorpe Design for a period,
  • providing the best opportunity for the managers and team members that worked for them to have rewarding careers within the merged company,
  • providing continued high-quality service to their customers
  • and providing Mike and Gaylene with financial confidence regarding the funds they would have available for their next phase of life.

The deal closed in January 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Mike and Gaylene hit all their milestones through a challenging period for any business and Victory Fire was merged with Thorpe Design exactly one year later, in January 2021.

The merged entity that is Thorpe Design, is the market leader for Residential Fire Protection in Northern California.

View All Acquisition Stories