While they don’t want to share their full playbook, the Tillises are willing to share some of the key traits that any acquisition they consider must have. For starters, there must be a cultural fit between the company being targeted and Imperial Dade. After all, if the company being obtained doesn’t take to the  new owner, how long will it take before things go sour?

“If the culture doesn’t fit, we won’t even talk,” says Robert.

In addition to personnel, Imperial Dade wants acquisitions to present a fit for the market and be an opportunity for growth. An example of a company that meets such criteria is Sikes Paper & Chemical Company, which Imperial Dade acquired in 2018.

“The Sikes acquisition is a really exciting one for us because they’re in Atlanta and they’re unbelievably good at what they do,” says Robert.

With the people of Sikes in the fold, as well as its Southeastern market, Imperial Dade is working on establishing the growth criteria by building a 330,000-square-foot Atlanta facility. Another benefit of the build, the Tillises say, is that it will help to uphold the legacy of both companies.

The Tillises know the acquisitions make the headlines, but they’re emphatic that that isn’t what the company is all about — strategic expansion is what they strive for.

“We can’t stress enough: it’s just about doing good business and being opportunistic at all times,” says Robert.

For example, in 2014 the company consolidated all of its new locations into a LEED certified headquarters in Jersey City, New Jersey. With 85 loading docks and 535,000-square-feet of warehouse space — the most of the company’s branches — the Jersey City facility is able to service Imperial Dade’s clients in the tri-state area.

More recently, Imperial Dade determined it needed to establish more of an identity in the country’s core, so it opened up an 83,000-square-foot distribution facility in Kansas City, Missouri.

“That was an organic opportunity that came up, but that doesn’t get the notoriety,” says Robert.

The company’s organic growth has also expanded to other parts of its East Coast home base. Facilities have opened in North Carolina and Massachusetts in an effort to better serve clients. The company added trucks and personnel to these locations to make them all the more accessible.

One of Imperial Dade’s latest acquisitions, Gulf Coast Paper, Victoria, Texas, represents the company’s first expansion into the state. While it appears as just another acquisition on paper, the move echoes Imperial Dade’s mantra of being opportunistic and expanding in a way that will best serve the business and its customer.

“We’ll go as far as humanly possible to service our clients,” says Jason.

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Serving Jan/San Customers Through Business Expansion