CBWI July 2001 Wilson Antenna Bought By Barjan
Much to the surprise of many, just about two years ago Jim Wilson did the unthinkable, he sold Wilson Antenna. Wilson became the number one antenna company in a very period of short time.
He had a head start, as the Wilson name was very popular back in the 1970s. Back then Wilson manufactured a the most complete line of CB base station antennas.
The line ranged from the Alpha 5/8 wave ground plane, a low cost version of the Avanti V5/8, to the Super Laser 500 a 8 element dual polarity 40' long beam antenna.
The latter of the two had the best gain figures of any antenna made at the time. It was also the biggest and heaviest, weighing 70 pounds it required a special rotor to manage it.
Jim's strategy was simple. He new if he got back into the CB antenna market, his antennas would need to out perform the K40 line of antennas and prove the performance to the public.
The first product off the assembly line was the KW1000, known to us now as the Wilson 1000.
Both coil packaging and the name were changed to satisfy a lawsuit by K40. But the efficient coil design is still the same.
K40 lost a second lawsuit, where they insisted the antenna still looked like their K40 and demanded that Wilson not be allowed to make the product in black.
Obviously they new they were in for rough times competing with the Wilson folks.The other stroke of genius was hiring Lockheed test laboratory to do a comparison test between the Wilson 1000 and the K40.
The tests proved the Wilson claim clearly by pointing out a 58% power gain on channel 40. One area it didn't address was the noise factor. If they did, Wilson would have become the #1 antenna much sooner.
The antenna coil design reduces noise generated outside the 10 & 11 Meter bands. It even reduces or eliminates fuel pump noise in most cases.
The following is the Barjan press release:
Jeremy Ahto847/291-1616 ext. 232
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BARJAN ACQUIRES TWO NEW COMPANIES,
INCLUDING MARKET-LEADING WILSON CB ANTENNAS
8th and 9th add-on acquisitions expand Barjan’s travel center distribution business
EAST MOLINE, ILLINOIS (August 23, 1999)—Barjan Products, L.L.C., a national marketer and distributor of automotive, electronic and general merchandise products to travel centers, today announced that it has acquired the #1 citizen band (CB) radio antenna company in the country as well as a specialty trucking merchandise firm.
These transactions will make Barjan the top CB antenna manufacturer in the country, and add significant product development capabilities to the company.
The acquisitions of Wilson Electronics Co. Inc. of St. George, Utah, Wilson Antenna Inc. of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Unique Products, Inc. of Goldendale, Washington, represent the latest phase in an ongoing strategic expansion program that has nearly quadrupled Barjan’s sales in the last four years.
That growth was sparked by a combination of infrastructure improvements and earlier add-on acquisitions.
The current initiative is expected to double Barjan’s annual sales again by 2002.Effective August 6, 1999, Barjan purchased the assets of Wilson Electronics Co. Inc., the manufacturer of the market-leading Wilson® brand of CB radio antennas, antenna accessories and other CB products, and Wilson Antenna Inc., the company’s distribution arm.
Barjan plans to add the production of Wilson antennas to the barjan® and Diesel brands already built at its plant in Moline, Illinois, doubling its manufacturing volume and gaining #1 CB antenna manufacturer status in the process.
In addition to broadening its CB antenna offering, the Wilson acquisition will enable Barjan to expand distribution into the CB dealer channel for the first time, using Wilson’s established customer base as an entry point.
This will give Barjan a new outlet for the two antenna lines it currently manufactures as well as a distribution channel for new CB-oriented products to be developed under a long-term agreement with Wilson’s product development team.
In a separate transaction, Barjan Products, L.L.C. acquired Unique Products, Inc. dba Quality Products, on June 30, 1999. Unique Products markets and distributes a proprietary line of specialty truckers’ merchandise ranging from fuel gauges and wash brushes to pens for writing at night.
The acquisition gives Barjan an established, branded product line for sale to its travel center customers, exclusive distribution rights to those products, and growth opportunities for the product line through Barjan’s larger customer base.
Barjan also gains the proprietary right to any future products developed for the trucking industry by Richard P. McClammy, President and founder of Unique Products.
"With these new acquisitions, we have broadened our investment in the CB antenna market, gained shelf space in the travel centers we service, and opened the door to a new retail channel in one fell swoop," said Steve Huber, President of Barjan Products.
"At the same time, we have broadened our proprietary product line and gained new R&D capabilities. These are significant milestones in the growth of the company."The new acquisitions are the eighth and ninth that Barjan has made within the last two years.
The most recent acquisitions were in May 1999, when Barjan purchased two national distributors of prerecorded music cassettes, CDs, videotapes, books, audio books and other entertainment products, enabling Barjan to claim a leading market share in the entertainment product category in the travel center market.
To support the company’s continued growth, Barjan is in the process of building a new 200,000-square-foot warehouse and manufacturing facility in the Quad Cities that will be nearly twice the size of its current headquarters in East Moline.
The new facility will replace both the 20-year-old headquarters building and an additional 64,000 square feet of nearby warehouse space that has been rented in recent years to accommodate the growth of the business.
More than 100 new jobs are expected to be created as a result of the continuing expansion of the company.Barjan is the largest marketer of automotive, electronic, and general merchandise products to the North American travel center market.
The company sells its barjan®, Diesel and other brand name products through a catalog and independent sales representatives.In addition to travel centers, Barjan markets its products to truck fleets, truck dealers, retail automotive chains and convenience stores.
Products include CB radios and antennas, cables and accessories, replacement lights and lenses, car and truck waxes and polishes, chrome and a variety of other truckers’ and general merchandise.
The press release points out the enormous size of this company. Concern grew among CB radio dealers across the country. The major concern being quality. The next concern was price, Wilson didn't ever institute a price increase.
They always managed to trim overhead. Now with this giant owning the company, would they be able to keep control in both areas? Well, Wilson must have done a great job in training the new manufacturing group.
The quality is as good as ever two years later and we all hope it remains this way. As for the price, well...Barjan did institute a price increase earlier this year, about 3-4% at the wholesale level.
Retail customers may have noticed a slight hike in the price by some dealers, but many dealers have held their prices so far.CB World Informer wishes Barjan well with this acquisition while hoping they keep the quality up and the prices down.