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Roman Decorating Sold; Russo Departs

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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Leading wallcovering sundries supplier Roman Decorating Products LLC has been sold, and longtime president Jerry Russo has left the company, the parties have announced.

Roman, a manufacturer of wallcovering adhesives, primers and other products for more than 75 years, has been purchased by Salt Creek Capital "in collaboration with" Blue & Gray Enterprises LLC, the companies said Friday (Nov. 22).

Roman Decorating Products
Photos unless indicated: Roman Decorating Products

Roman Decorating Products has manufactured wallcovering adhesives and removers for more than 75 years. Since 2005, it has also been a manufacturer of architectural finishes.

Calumet, IL-based Roman Decorating has also produced architectural finishes since 2005.

Salt Creek Capital, based in the San Francisco Bay area, describes itself as a "private equity firm that partners with talented operating executives to acquire profitable small businesses across the U.S."

The firm's other companies include ultrasound equipment re-seller Ultra Solutions; data-center developer Total Site Solutions; and Burnham Nationwide, a provider of permitting, code and inspection services for the construction and solar energy markets.

Russo: 'New Challenges'

The deal removes Russo, a familiar face across the painting and wallcovering industry for two decades, as Roman's longtime president and CEO.


Jerry Russo, a fixture in the U.S. wallcovering industry, called his tenure at Roman Decorating Products a "great pleasure and privilege."

"It has been my great pleasure and privilege to lead Roman for over 20 years, building the Roman brands with superior quality and innovation," Russo said in a statement.

"The time has arrived for me to enjoy new challenges and opportunities. Roman's executive team is seasoned and well poised to continue Roman's growth and dedication to superior products and service."

Roman Decorating has strong ties with leading industry organizations. It is a member and longtime supporter of  the National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP), the Paint & Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), Wallcovering Association, and International Wallcovering Association.

New CEO: 'A Great Company'

Russo's successor is J.W. Penland, described as the "founding member of Blue & Gray Enterprises" and an executive partner in Salt Creek Capital.

No information was immediately available about Blue & Gray Enterprises.


J.W. Penland, formerly of Sprint and other technology companies, succeeds Jerry Russo at Roman Decorating.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Penland has been with Salt Creek Capital since January. Before that, he co-founded a company called Innovative Digital Ventures, in Clarendon Hills, IL, where he worked from March 2011 until September 2013.

Penland's profile says the company was "created to explore the digital ideas of its creators." A link to the company's website was not working Sunday (Nov. 24).

For 20 months ending in January 2011, Penland was CEO and SVP with Chicago-based IOCOM, which "provides visual communication software and designs videoconferencing and collaboration solutions."

Before that, Penland held a variety of positions with Sprint.

Penland has a BS in Business Administration from Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, according to Salt Creek Capital's announcement.

"Roman is a great company with growth opportunities," Penland said in a statement. "I am looking forward to working with the team at Roman to identify new markets and new products, while buliding on Roman's history of stellar customer focus."

About Roman Decorating Products

Roman's wallcovering brands include Roman primers and adhesives; Golden Harvest primers, adhesives and tools; and Piranha removers and tools. The company's well-known brands are available through many retailers and home-improvement stores.

Roman Decorating Products

Roman says it launched many "innovative products in the wallcovering industry that are standard on store shelves today."

According to the company's website, Roman "was the first to introduce pre-mixed wallcovering adhesives, wallcovering primers, vinyl-over-vinyl adhesive, and many other innovative products in the wallcovering industry that are standard on store shelves today."

In 2005, Roman expanded its product line to include architectural coatings sold under the umbrella Roman Architectural Finishes. The line included Armorfaux, Armortex and Armoremetallix. Still, 95 percent of the company's revenues come from wallcovering-related products, its website says.

Roman Decorating Products operates out of a 100,000-square foot facility in Calumet City, IL.


Tagged categories: Acquisitions; Architectural coatings; National Guild of Professional Paperhangers (NGPP); Painting & Decorating Contractors of Amer. (PDCA); Roman Architectural Finishes; Roman Decorating Products; Wallcovering; Wallcovering adhesives; Wallcovering products

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