by Stephen Garner

United Legwear WheatUnited Legwear & Apparel Company, LLC (ULAC) has acquired The Wheat Group Inc., a San Diego-based company that designs, develops and distributes accessories relating to sports and fashion. Product categories include: bags; backpacks; hats and caps; knee-to-toe soccer gear and more. Day-to-day creative design, product development, sourcing, and marketing responsibilities will remain in San Diego, sales functions will be split between bi-coastal showrooms in New York and San Diego, and financial operations will be absorbed by United Legwear & Apparel Co.’s New York office.

Since 2011, The Wheat Group has been a licensee and joint venture partner of Puma North America; other licensed partners include Skechers and Minecraft, and the company also has a proprietary brand of premium bags and accessories called Focused Space.

“I’ve been impressed with The Wheat Group’s exceptional creative talent and design innovations; they develop cutting-edge products,” said Isaac E. Ash, founder, president and CEO of United Legwear & Apparel Co. “In addition, accessories are an important part of the brands that ULAC manages; we will leverage this synergy and offer retailers a broad assortment of products that work together. ULAC will enable retailers to efficiently procure lifestyle brand stories from a single resource. Initial response has been tremendous, and we look forward to a successful future.”

Chad Grismer, co-founder of The Wheat Group, added, “ULAC has built a dynamic business and retains a fierce allegiance to quality, innovation and value. We’ve been paralleling each other’s efforts for quite some time (Puma JV partner/Skechers licensee/etc). My brothers and I have always found it interesting that there is this ‘other’ company out there serving identical brands and markets in complimentary product categories. The decision to combine was obvious, and together – as a full service accessory company — will prove to be faster, stronger, and more valuable to our retail partners, licensors, and consumers. We’re proud to be part of this team.”

A complete line of Puma accessories (booth #620) as well as the Focused Space collection (booth #624) will be presented at Liberty Fairs Las Vegas, February 15-17 at the Sands Expo | Venetian.