The parent company of A.C. Moore, the arts-and-crafts retailer based in Berlin, N.J., announced Monday that it has acquired e-commerce company Blitsy and invested in handcraft marketplace Zibbet to boost its digital capacity.
The two major investments by parent company Nicole Crafts LLC are to boost the company's online reach and sales, said Anthony Piperno, chief marketing and merchandising officer at A.C. Moore.
Piperno said both deals were completed last week. The purchase price was not disclosed for either deal.
"Both will facilitate and propel our business going forward, and are part of the growth trajectory for A.C. Moore … to create the most dynamic platform throughout the arts-and-crafts do-it-yourself industry," he said.
Blitsy is considered a leading online retailer of arts and crafts products, while the exclusive partnership with Zibbet — one of the fastest-growing peer-to-peer handcraft marketplaces made up of independent artists, crafters, and vintage collectors, gives it a foothold in that sector.
Blitsy will operate largely as an independent subsidiary of Nicole Crafts LLC, and remain based in Chicago, focusing on its current business strategy with access to A.C. Moore's infrastructure.
Founded in Moorestown, in 1985, A.C. Moore now operates 135 brick-and-mortar locations across the East Coast from Maine to Florida, with global headquarters in Berlin, N.J., and China.
Last April, it opened a flagship store — and its first urban location in the country — at the historic Land Title Building at 100 S. Broad St., which Piperno said has exceeded sales expectations by about 10 percent.
"We are joining the A.C. Moore family because there is a huge opportunity to utilize each other's strengths," said Ross Petersen, co-founder and CEO of Blitsy.
Zibbet founder and CEO Jonathan Peacock said, "I have no doubt that together we're going to change the face of creative commerce."
Industry observers are also bullish on A.C. Moore's move, which mirrors two recent acquisitions by TJX (parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshall's) of Sierra Trading Post, and of Walmart's acquisition of Jet.
The acquisition of Blitsy "is an excellent strategy to help move the company forward and gain learnings as it revamps its website and e-commerce offerings," said Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, which tracks the industry for investors. "The Blitsy site and offerings are more contemporary, well-organized, and more visually appealing that should help A.C. Moore."