KIRKLAND, Wash. — November 26, 2018 — Solomons Fund recently announced the acquisition of Fife-based Pacific Refrigeration LLC., its fifth in a series of investments in high-potential, privately held companies throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Founded in 2012, Pacific Refrigeration focuses on commercial refrigeration services such as walk-in fridges and air conditioning, as well as heating, HVAC and electrical services. Founder Alex Sokirkin spent the last two years growing his technician team, which led to substantial growth.
When he decided several months ago to sell the business, he sought out a buyer who would continue that growth.
Sokirkin met with several potential buyers and determined Solomons Fund was a good fit because of their long-term approach to investing in a business.“
They want to hold on for a long time and grow it and go from there, not just buy and flip,” he said.
To lead Pacific Refrigeration forward, OneAccord Principal John Solheim has stepped into the role of CEO. He is managing the transition alongside Sokirkin, who is still an investor and will continue to be a strong partner through the transition and long-term.
“He’s a hard worker who's done a good job building the company,” said Solheim. “If you take care of your customers and have the right technicians, you can really grow the business.
There is significant upside for the business."Pacific Refrigeration fit the investment model for Solomons Fund, which seeks out small, profitable companies in the manufacturing, service or distribution industries with owners who want to extend their legacies while investing in their employees and local communities.
Unlike traditional private equity, Solomons Fund sees each business as a long-term investment it can grow over at least 10 years.Since accepting his role as CEO, Solheim’s first priority has been the employees and client communications.
“[Employees] often hear private equity just wants to make money, shape it up and sell it fast. That's the antithesis of what Solomons Fund is and what we do," said Solheim. “We're very employee-focused. Our first concern is making sure everyone feels comfortable with the change. There's a strong, positive culture here. They didn’t want some big company to come in and change everything. We will build on the strengths and add scalability to the business.”
Sokirkin said the company’s employees are pleased with the transition, as are its customers. He has already introduced the new CEO to key customers in person to make sure they’re prepared for and comfortable with what’s next.
And what’s next is growth. Solheim’s next priority is to develop a strategy for expanding the business. He plans to add staff north of I-90 to increase the geography of the company’s service area. In the long-term, he wants to see Pacific Refrigeration become the go-to company for commercial services, not just in the Puget Sound but throughout Washington into Idaho and Oregon.