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Rock Bottom Golf Acquires A Manufacturing Base

Ray Cook Golf purchase will help Rock Bottom develop more private-label brands.

Internet Retailer - Mark Brohan - September 27th, 2011

Web-only merchant RockBottomGolf.com isn’t just an online retailer any more.

With the acquisition of Ray Cook Golf on Monday, RockBottomGolf.com, No. 326 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is now a manufacturer, a developer of private-label merchandise for its e-commerce site and a more diversified company.

Rock Bottom Golf isn’t saying how much it paid for Ray Cook Golf, a niche golf equipment manufacturer that has made wedges, putters and other clubs for golfers since 1963. But the move to acquire Ray Cook gives Rock Bottom access to a steadier supply of merchandise, and new opportunities to develop more of its own brands and broaden its customer base, says CEO Tom Rath. “The biggest single thing the acquisition of Ray Cook Golf does is allow us to diversify our brand and offer an exclusive brand of merchandise to our customers,” says Rath. “Now that Rock Bottom Golf has a house brand this also gives us the chance to develop other lines of merchandise such as bags.”

The deal to acquire Ray Cook, which manufactures putters that have been used by such famous golfers as Billy Casper, Nick Price, Orville Moody, Roberto De Vicenzo, Dave Stockton, Donna Caponi and Nancy Lopez, also ends an ongoing problem Rock Bottom Golf had in securing inventory at certain times of the year. “When most of your inventory is buying closeout merchandise from multiple sources, it can be feast or famine depending upon the availability supply during dates on the calendar,” says Rath. “Now we have a consistent supply of wedges and putters and stable of products we can grow and diversify.

Once the deal is complete, Ray Cook will operate as a unit of Rock Bottom Golf’s parent company, TGIB Marketing, but all merchandising and brand management will occur on RockBottomGolf.com.

The acquisition of a manufacturer is the latest diversification from Rock Bottom Golf, which has been selling online since 2002. In spring and summer, Rock Bottom launched RockBottomSunglasses.com and RockBottomFitness.com as a pair of niche sites. In 2012 Rock Bottom Golf will also launch a broader sporting goods site—RockBottomSports.com.

With more diversification the Rock Bottom e-commerce brand is on track to generate web sales of about $38 million in 2011, which would be up about 28.4% from $29.6 million in 2010, says Rath.