Entrepreneur’s Story: Bear Diversified– August 02, 2018 by Randy Myeroff

In this installment of Entrepreneur’s Story, highlighting the journey of successful private companies and their leaders, we focus on Matthew Friedman of Bear Diversified based in Cleveland, Ohio. Matthew honored his dad’s hard work when he overcame significant challenges to grow the family’s metal stamping plant beyond his father’s dreams.
 
Below is an excerpt from their story featured in the spring 2018 issue of Taxonomics.
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After Matthew’s father died, his partner wanted to sell Northern Stamping. He asked Matthew to buy him out, but he didn’t have the capital. So in 2000, the company was sold to a firm called Hilite International. Matthew stayed on and was appointed general manager of Northern Stamping.
 
It was painful, but during the process Matthew met Ron Campbell and Ian Hessel, both vice presidents and partners at Hilite. From the start, Campbell and Hessel were impressed with Matthew and Northern Stamping.
 
“It was a well-run, smaller company with good cash flow,” Hessel says. “There weren’t too many companies like that.”
 
But after a few years, Hilite started focusing on transmissions and engine controls, and suddenly Northern Stamping wasn’t a priority. To complicate matters, Hilite wanted to sell itself, and potential buyers didn’t understand how Northern Stamping fit in. So in 2006, Hilite placed Northern Stamping on the market.
 
 
Read the full story in Taxonomics to learn how the company was ultimately saved and Bear Diversified was born.

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