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(Specialty gift retailers will join forces to expand in store and online selection)

Denver, Colo., Sept. 16, 2013—Gart Capital Partners (GCP), a Denver-based firm that invests in closely-held and family-owned retail businesses, has announced the merger between the Atlanta-based Swoozie's, a specialty retailer with eight stores in seven states that is a leader in gifts and products for life's special events, and Beau-coup, the California-based premium online retailer of party favors, supplies, decorations, and special occasion gifts. The merger was completed on Sept. 3. The new combined company will maintain the brand names of Swoozie's and Beau-coup, as well as retaining all staff. Thomas Cole, the CEO of Beau-coup since 2009, and Kelly PlankDworkin, co-founder and president of Swoozie's since its launch in 1999, will serve as co-CEOs of the new combined company.

The merger is projected to strengthen the reach and awareness of both brands. Beau-coup products will gain a wider audience and exposure with presence in Swoozie's retail stores throughout the southeast and Denver while its online retail site benefits from the addition of Swoozie's merchandise. At the same time, Swoozie's will expand its online sales utilizing Beau-coup's wellestablished e-commerce technology platform and capabilities.

“Swoozie's and Beau-coup are a natural fit for each other,” explains Tom Gart of GCP who brought the two companies together. “Both companies have been successful in filling a retail niche for specialized products related to special occasions and entertaining. By bringing the two companies together and combining experience and synergies, both brands will have a state-of-the-art digital business, outstanding merchandising expertise, and a strong ‘brick and mortar' expansion capability,” he added.

Both brands plan to accelerate aggressive existing growth plans via the merger. Swoozie's will continue to focus on store expansion while adding Beau-coup branded personalized gifts, decorations, and special occasion party favors. Swoozies's will also benefit from Beau-coup's technology and online expertise. Simultaneously, Beau-coup's e-commerce site will expand its offerings and categories to include Swoozie's signature items such as personalized stationery, invitations for all special occasions, seasonal party supplies, tableware, and hostess gifts.

“Three years after the investment of GCP into Swoozie's, we have been steadily strengthening our stores, our product offerings, and our customer connections and once again, we have another exciting opportunity to continue our journey to help our customers celebrate special occasions with our creative new partners at Beau-coup,” said Plank-Dworkin, co-CEO. “Working together and tapping each other's expertise and experience will allow both companies to move to a higher level in terms of innovative products, sales growth, and customer satisfaction,” added co-CEO Cole. XMS Capital Partners advised Beau-coup in the transaction.

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