Stratford-Cambridge Group acquires Hy-Brid Lifts

By ALEX BELD - Daily News

Dec. 13, 2017

  The exterior of Hy-Brid Lifts Custom Equipment in Richfield. The business was recently bought by a Michigan-based company.
John Ehlke/Conley News Service

Custom Equipment established itself in West Bend in 1981 as a welding and fabrication business, developing its first lifts for the cemetery and mausoleum markets.

Before the company was acquired by Stratford-Cambridge Group, Hy-Brid Lifts Custom Equipment had already spread into the construction and industrial markets. After 36 years, they have a full product range of scissor lifts and aerial work platforms.

A deal was agreed upon in late October.

The family company, though sold to a private equity firm, will remain in their hands to some extent. They will hold a 20 percent stake in the business. A news release from the firms explains they will partner with the family to help them continue to grow on their current trajectory.

“Our family started this business over 36 years ago and are very proud of what we’ve built and the relationships that we’ve made,” Founder Steve Kissinger said in a news release. “... we are happy to announce our partnership with Stratford-Cambridge Group.

“They see value in our products and understand the rich history that we have developed over the years with our customers, vendors and employees. We see this as a great opportunity to continue growing the company, while continuing to maintain those relationships.”

The Michigan-based firm also previously acquired Fluid Air Controls LLC, Sterling Technologies, Inc, Speedgrip Chuck Co. and Aetna Bearing Co. The firm’s website states those who sell to them are given an exit strategy, will see an emphasis on continued growth, see unique needs addressed and be given opportunities as an investor in the firm.

Custom Equipment president Mike Reichert said funding from the firm will help with continued growth. He added the funding would go to additional equipment and facilities.

Both buildings the business operates out of have been on the market for more than two years and as growth continues the goal is to find a larger space. Reichert said the preference for a facility is within the county as that’s where their workforce lives.

The equity firm focuses on making controlling investments in manufacturing companies with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization between $1 million - $5 million.

In an email, Stratford-Cambridge vice president Emily Bertsche said, “The company will remain in the same location in Richfield and West Bend with the same team.”

According to the firm’s website, certain employees will receive equity investment opportunities, performance rewards and access to additional capital.

The company started in West Bend on North Main Street, after some growth it moved to Progress Drive and that site remains a location for manufacturing scissor lifts.

In 2010, the corporate headquarters moved to Richfield.