Stratford-Cambridge, a private equity firm, has acquired Custom Equipment, a low-level scissorlift manufacturer specializing in hybrid units and the Hy-Brid brand. Custom Equipment was founded in 1981 by Steve and Lynn Kissinger as a small fabrication and welding repair business in West Bend, Wis. The company manufactured the first “2-in-1” or hybrid scissorlift, originally used in mausoleums.

In 2004, recognizing the need for smaller lightweight lifts, Custom Equipment designed and began manufacturing the HB-1030 Hy-Brid lift. In 2007, the Hy-Brid Lift line was expanded with the HB-1430, which gave users a 20-foot working height. The company moved to a larger facility in Richfield, Wis., and in 2010, added the HB-P830 and HB-830 units.

"Our family started this business over 36 years ago and we are very proud of what we've built and the relationships that we've made," said Steve Kissinger. "Today, we are happy to announce our partnership with Stratford Cambridge Group. They see the 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, which continuing to maintain those relationships."

Custom now markets its machines on a worldwide basis. Custom Equipment owners will continue with a 20-percent stake in the business. The seller said they chose to partner with SCG for its financial, strategic and operational expertise and to continue the growth trajectory that the company has recently enjoyed. 

"We are very excited at the prospect of partnering with the Custom Equipment management team to continue and accelerate their impressive history of growth and innovation," said Stephen Ellis, managing director of SCG. "Custom Equipment checks all of our boxes in regard to our investment criteria: highly engineered product line, impressive growth trajectory and strong management team. We are looking forward to this next chapter in the history of Customer Equipment."

Stratford-Cambridge Group describes itself as a “boutique buy-out and private investment firm providing high net-worth individuals, family offices and accredited investors access to the portfolio diversification and high returns of the private equity class of investment without the large dollar commitments and fees associated with traditional private equity funds.”

SCG focuses on acquiring niche manufacturing companies in the Midwest and Great Lakes region, and makes investments in manufacturers of engineered products with EBITDA of $1 million to $5 million. It is based in Plymouth, Mich.