The first major acquisition of 2018 has occurred. Quality Importers Trading Company, in conjunction with Svoboda Capital Partners LLC, has acquired XIKAR Inc. XIKAR is a leading cigar accessories company based in Kansas City, Missouri and best known for its product lifetime warranty.
As a part of the acquisition, XIKAR co-founders Kurt Van Kepler and Scott Almsberger will become Executive Vice Presidents and minority owners while continuing to run XIKAR’s operations as minority partners. Both will report to Michael Cellucci, Quality Importers President and Chief Operating Officer. Cellucci will continue to report to Chief Executive Officer Michael Giordano.
“On behalf of the QI family of businesses, we are excited to announce the acquisition of XIKAR, Inc., which marks our largest and most impactful transaction since our inception 18 years ago. This is a transformational event in the cigar accessory category, creating an industry-leading partnership with enormous growth potential in existing and new markets. Unlike all of our previous acquisitions, XIKAR contributes a coordinated and experienced team of professionals, as well as a set of high quality, branded products and services, altogether enhancing the value proposition for our retail partners. The pure enthusiasm we have witnessed from Kurt and Scott to join the QI team has been inspiring for all of us. As with all transitions of this kind, there is much work to be done, and we will keep our focus on executing in the most effective manner for our customers and employees. Along the way, together, we will continue making strategic acquisitions to fulfill our mission to be the most comprehensive supplier of smoking accessories in the industry worldwide,” stated Giordano in a press release.
Van Keppel commented “We at XIKAR are extremely pleased to partner with Mike Giordano and Michael Cellucci at QI, to expand the global reach of both companies’ products and services. Through this process, my respect and admiration for Mike Giordano and the company he has built grew exponentially. Michael Cellucci was a great hire by Mike. His experience, strategic vision and natural leadership skills have really helped us bring the vision of combining these two great companies into focus.”
“I have a lot of respect for the company Kurt and Scott have built. They have established a strong portfolio of market-leading products,” stated Cellucci from the Tobacco Product Expo currently taking place in Las Vegas. “We are excited for the combination of these two companies. This is a perfect marriage, leveraging the strong brand positioning of XIKAR, and full services of QI. Our goal is to deliver a single all-encompassing solution to our retail partners focused on aggressive sales planning, innovative product development, and outstanding customer service.” Cellucci continued, “This group has shown an unwavering commitment to succeed, a group that is filled with fight and drive – and I am proud to be a part of it”
While Quality Importers may be a bit of an unknown to many, they have made several significant accessory acquisitions along the way including Palio and Orleans Group, best known for being makers of cutters and humidors respectively.