Industry News 1/26/2016

B$Z: Leading Outdoor Adventure Retailers Join Forces

Specialty outdoor gear retailers, Summit Sports and Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK) announce the merger of the two companies under Summit Sports LLC. The merger, backed by Digital Fuel Capital, brings together two outdoor specialty retail leaders in snow, paddle, and other outdoor adventure sports.

The merger consists of several e-commerce brands including,,,,,, and, along with four brick and mortar stores in Michigan and five in Texas.

“Summit Sports and Austin Kayak are a natural fit and will build upon and grow on each other’s expertise to create a symbiotic and successful business,” says Steve Kopitz, Chairman, Summit Sports. “It is exciting to see these two companies become one, and Summit Sports is looking forward to expanding and innovating with ACK to continue bringing the best in specialty outdoor sports to consumers”

With the best selection of products, expertise in their categories, and excellent business practices, this merger will provide the two successful companies with the ability to focus on their individual specialty categories while driving to expand their online and local store business.

“In just 10 years, we grew ACK from a small mom and pop shop with two employees to one of the largest specialty paddlesports retailers in the country,” said Peter Messana, CEO, Summit Sports. “We are looking forward to the next chapter for ACK, and in particular what it will offer our customers, employees, vendors and partners.”

The transaction was backed by investment firm, Digital Fuel Capital LLC. In addition to Digital Fuel Capital, Bay Capital Partners, Eagle Private Capital, MB Financial and Pine Street Capital provided financing for the transaction. Cascadia Capital LLC advised ACK on the transaction.

“We believe that outdoor sporting goods retailers should offer experiences tailored to the specific passions of the consumer,” says Carson Biederman, President of Digital Fuel Capital. “We are eager to have Peter and Steve Messana, along with ACK, become a part of Summit’s strategy to acquire other leaders in specialty sports.”

Peter and Steve Messana will be joining the Summit Sports executive team while retaining equity ownership in the combined entity. Steve Kopitz will be handing over the reigns to Peter Messana, who will serve as Chief Executive Officer, while Steve Messana will continue on as Vice President of Merchandising. Kopitz will be taking over as Chairman of the Board for Summit Sports LLC.