It may indeed be the end of an era as Michaels Companies Inc. announced Tuesday (Feb. 2) that it had bought Pat Catan’s parent company, Lamrite West Inc. for $150 million. In their press release, Michaels promised that Lamrite West Chief Executive Officer Michael Catanzarite, whose father founded the company, will continue to lead his team as a unique brand under the Michaels corporate umbrella. Additionally, Catanzarite will serve on Michaels executive committee. He has served as CEO of Lamrite West for two decades.
"I have long admired the Michaels team, and with the full weight of Michaels resources, I know that our employees and customers will realize tangible benefits from this combination," Catanzarite said in the official press release.
Pat Catan’s is a local favorite among artists and crafters, not just because of their lower prices, but because of strong ties to Northeast Ohio. The company was founded in Cleveland in 1954 and its headquarters are located in Strongsville. Some locals view this as a corporate takeover of an independent local business. However, both Catanzarite and Michaels Companies Inc. Chairman and CEO Chuck Rubin see this as a benefit to all customers.
"The acquisition of Lamrite West represents a unique opportunity to add a business to the Michaels portfolio that will strategically enhance our private brand development capabilities, accelerate our direct sourcing initiatives, and strengthen our business-to-business capabilities," Rubin explained in the company’s press release. "As CEO of Lamrite West, Mike Catanzarite has built a strong leadership team and cultivated a pervasive culture of customer service. Together, we will serve our combined customer base better to help us achieve our long-term growth goals."
Michaels is North America's largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts. The Company owns and operates nearly 1,200 Michaels stores in 49 states and Canada and 118 Aaron Brothers stores and produces 12 exclusive private brands. The first Michaels store was opened by Mike Dupey in Dallas, TX in 1976 – 22 years after Pat Catanzarite opened his first retail store.
The business now known as Pat Catan’s was founded in 1954 by Pat Catanzarite (AKA Pat Catan) as Lamrite, a humble 600 sq. ft. retail store located at E. 131st St. and Miles Ave. in Cleveland, with just $200. Over the past 60+ years, the retail name has changed from Lamrite to Pat Catan’s Lamrite to just Pat Catan’s.
Pat Catanzarite was a flight instructor during WWII. Upon returning home, he began a window display and props service that designed window displays for downtown Cleveland department stores like Halle’s, Higbees, Linders and Rosenbloom. The success of this first business allowed him to open his first retail store. Soon, he would open a second location in Old Brooklyn.
By the 70s, Catanzarite had opened another half dozen stores in Northeast Ohio. Additionally, he founded a craft supply wholesale business. He named this wholesale business Darice, a combination of the names of two of his four children (David and Patrice). Family was very important to Catanzarite, and many of his children and grandchildren continue to work in the Darice wholesale business, corporate headquarters or one of Pat Catan’s retail stores. In total, more than 20 family members spanning three generations currently work full time for the family business.
Today, there are more than 30 Pat Catan’s locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia and Indiana.
This news comes less than three years after another major shake-up in the world of art supplies. In 2013, Blick Art Materials purchased one of its largest competitors, Utrecht Art Supplies and its 45 retail stores; including its Coventry location in Cleveland Hts.