Drew Field
Direct Public Offerings
Case Studies

Bridge City Tool WorksBridge City Tool Works

John Economaki, formerly a high school shop teacher, began a Bridge City Tool Works on the basis of his talent for designing "work-of-art" hand tools for serious woodworking hobbyists. He sold the tools through woodworking shows and developed a catalog direct marketing business. After building a team of employees and growing rapidly, the business was hit by some of those unexpected events that can force the undercapitalized into liquidation.

To show its ability to survive, Bridge City needed to get some short-term capital, and some patience from creditors. To get beyond that, and back on the growth track, some permanent capital would be necessary.

Short-term capital, by way of investment in preferred stock was available, on the condition that there would be long-term capital to back it up or replace it. A two-step financing was put in place during 1994 and 1995. Two private investors purchased preferred, which was to be redeemed form the proceeds of a public offering. Then common stock was registered for a direct public offering. Shares were marketed to vendors, customers and local investors. Bridge City is now back on a solid footing, able to continue its growth and service its loyal customers, many of whom now share ownership.