MINNEAPOLIS — Talks initially focused on Crystal-Pierz taking on Tracker boat lines eventually morphed into a contract to buy five of the Minnesota-based dealership’s locations, former Crystal-Pierz President Luke Kujawa said in an interview this week.
Discussions with Tracker began in June, with the Bass Pro-brand looking for better distribution in the upper Midwest after former dealer Link Rec closed its Minneapolis locations, Kujawa said.
At the time, CEO Myron Kujawa (Luke’s father) was looking for an exit strategy from the business, while he was trying to find capital to fund the company, according to Luke Kujawa.
In the final deal, Tracker acquired five Crystal-Pierz locations (Brainerd; Ramsey; Shakopee; Fargo, N.D.; and Rice Lake, Wis.), with Myron Kujawa retaining ownership of the company’s final two locations in Walker and Gull Lake. Tracker also acquired rights to the Crystal-Pierz name, meaning the Walker and Gull Lake locations will have to be renamed, Luke Kujawa said.
Crystal-Pierz signed a confidentiality agreement in October as Tracker began its due diligence prior to the sale, and the sale was finalized around Christmas.
According to Luke Kujawa, all the company’s employees were terminated when the sale went through, but Tracker has begun the process of interviewing them to fill empty positions and he believes most will be rehired.
Luke Kujawa himself is currently not employed by Crystal-Pierz, though he said “things can always change.” Instead he says he is focused on his new company, EOF Opportunity, which is based in downtown Minneapolis and will focus on the area of distressed inventory.
At its height in 2008, Crystal Pierz had grown to a 13-location, $90 million company. That year they closed seven locations, including six at once in July 2008.
Tracker Marine Groups sells its brands (including Tracker, Nitro, and others) at more than 50 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boat Center locations throughout North America and at hundreds of independent dealers worldwide.