Since joining The Michaels Cos. Inc. four years ago, chairman and CEO Chuck Rubin has taken the company public, diversified its offerings and helped it step into online sales

Rubin took the top spot at Irving craft retailer Michaels (Nasdaq: MIK) in February 2013, bringing a diverse skill set ranging from merchandising and marketing to e-commerce and operations. He previously served as CEO of Ulta Beauty Inc. (Nasdaq: ULTA) and president of Office Depot Inc. (Nasdaq: ODP).

He has leveraged his expertise to broaden Michaels’ product offerings and shopping experience. In 2014, the more than 40-year-old company went public, bringing in $472 million with its initial public offering.

It also grew its wholesale, private brand and sourcing capabilities with last year’s purchase of Ohio craft company Lamrite West. The $150 million deal added Lamrite’s 35 Pat Catan’s Craft Centers, Darice Inc. wholesale division and a Chinese sourcing office to Michaels’ portfolio.

Going public and making the acquisition have helped make Michaels the largest publicly-traded craft company in the U.S.

The company is also growing digitally, beginning online sales three years ago. While e-commerce made up just 1 percent of revenue last year, Rubin expects that number to grow by double digits over the next several years.

He told us more about leading Michaels and additional growth plans.

How has Michaels integrated Lamrite West into its operations?

When we bought Lamrite West, it offered three things that were very good fits with our strategic plan that we defined when I first got here. First, they brought a presence in China for sourcing product. Michaels at the time did not have any direct presence in China – we didn’t have our own people or an office, we worked through agents. With Lamrite, we got a small office that we have since expanded.

The second thing that it brought us is a small chain of stores called Pat Catan’s in the Ohio Valley area. That provides us with a good testing ground for Michaels stores. Michaels has roughly 1,200 stores, and sometimes it’s hard to carve out a group of stores to test things in. But Pat Catan’s, with 35 stores, allows us to move very quickly.

 

Presenting by Dallas Business Journal, October 2, 2017

 
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