Burnes and Nielsen Merger to Reap Dividends

Foil Flora collection from Burnes. burnesofboston.com

Foil Flora collection from Burnes. burnesofboston.com

By Allison Zisko

The recent merger of Burnes and Nielsen Bainbridge gives the frame makers a considerably bigger profile in the industry and plenty of cross-merchandising opportunities and cost-saving potential.

Nielsen Bainbridge, a leader in the custom-framing world, acquired Pinnacle Frames & Accents, a supplier of photo frames and albums to the mass market, in 2011. The addition of Burnes grants it a good-better-best assortment across the retail spectrum. Mass merchants who carry Pinnacle but want a few more upscale tabletop frames can shop the Burnes line; Burnes’ specialty store customers in search of key items can look into Pinnacle’s offerings; and custom frame shops who want to offer ready-made items in addition to framing can look into either one.

Nielsen Bainbridge has about 4,000 retail customers, many of them looking for ways to expand their business, said Randy Faltesek, vice president of marketing for Pinnacle. The availability of Pinnacle and Burnes “gives them more broad based offerings that make sense in their stores.”

Nielsen Bainbridge has an established presence in Europe, with offices in France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom, and a manufacturing and distribution facility in Germany. “Pinnacle and Burnes can go right into that niche,” Faltesek said. Pinnacle has seen early success in Europe since Nielsen acquired it last year, he added.

The merger of the three frame companies creates a particularly strong frame corporation and enhances its buying, sourcing, design and manufacturing capabilities, executives said.

Scott Slater, president of Pinnacle, was recently appointed CEO of the new Nielsen Bainbridge Group.  Slater succeeds Bob Kroll, who recently retired. Slater remains in charge of Pinnacle.

Each company will retain its brand name and its marketing and sales teams. Burnes, currently headquartered in Atlanta, will relocate to Austin, Texas, where Pinnacle is located (and where Burnes was formerly headquartered). The entire ready-made business will be conducted in Austin, while the framing business is centered in Paramus, N.J. Distribution of Burnes products will be relocated to the Nielsen Bainbridge /Pinnacle distribution center in Pocahontas, Ark.

Several former Burnes executives from the 1990s work for Pinnacle, so the union of the two companies serves as a bit of a homecoming for some.

“It’s like a family reunion more than anything else,” said Mike Kirkland, president of Burnes. The transition has proven easy, he said. “We all speak the same language, we’re friends, it’s been easy to bring everything together.”