OneAccord Capital announced this week that it has acquired its first company — Yakima-based Graphic Label, Inc. Graphic Label was founded by Lyle and Shelley Von Essen in 1993 and employs 20 people. The company produces labeling and lot code trace-ability for fruit and produce growers and packers in the Pacific Northwest and California.

The Kirkland-based private equity firm launched in January 2016, and will acquire already successful companies from baby boomers who are about to retire and seeking a steward who will honor their company’s legacy.

“We weren’t going to sell to just anybody. OneAccord Capital has the vision and capability to help (Graphic Label) win in the marketplace, both now and over the next several years,” Lyle Von Essen, said in a statement. “They showed they care about the business, our customers, our people and our community, and they share our excitement about the opportunities ahead for (us).”

As part of the acquisition, OneAccord Capital has established former Thomas Kemper president Max Clough as Graphic Label’s new CEO. A strategic plan calls for expansive growth while nurturing the company’s existing commitments to the Yakima Valley community.

Jeff Rogers. Photo courtesy OneAccord Captial.

Jeff Rogers. Photo courtesy OneAccord Captial.

“For years, researchers have pointed to a growing trend of baby boomer owners who are reaching retirement age and need to find the right transition path. The numbers are large: tens of thousands of businesses in the Pacific Northwest will change hands over the next several years,” Jeff Rogers, a OneAccord Capital co-founder and president of OneAccord Partners, said in a statement. “Yet the capital markets are not prepared and generally are not focused on this type of organization, which puts the companies, the employees and the local communities in jeopardy. OneAccord Capital’s mission is to help close the gap.”

As with any new company, building trust between OneAccord and a potential acquisition is key. Rogers said the firm works to build trust with owners and complete its due diligence to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the future of the company.

“We put the necessary time into building relationships to that the owners can see who we are,” Rogers said. “We show them our values, or operational know-how, or commitment to persevere and invest over the long term, so that the business keeps thriving. It’s about earning and establishing trust.”

OneAccord launched with a three-year plan to invest $25 million or buy eight companies, whichever comes first. The firm is currently working to identify the “next right fit” for OneAccord Capital investment.