Swing Kingdom, Atlas Molding acquired by Lancaster firm

Ioannis Pashakis//May 23, 2019

Swing Kingdom, Atlas Molding acquired by Lancaster firm

Ioannis Pashakis//May 23, 2019

Swing Kingdom and Atlas Molding  have been acquired by a Lancaster County investment firm. Atlas manufactures plastic swings and slides used in playground equipment sold by Swing Kingdom. (Photo: Submitted)

After a series of deals in other states, a Lancaster County investment firm has bought a pair of businesses on its home turf.

Lancaster-based PennSpring Capital closed on a deal this week to buy two businesses based in Upper Leacock Township and owned by the same Lancaster County entrepreneur, Amos Glick. The terms were not disclosed.

The businesses are Swing Kingdom, a manufacturer of playground equipment, and its sister company, Atlas Molding, which makes plastic components for playground equipment. Atlas creates the swings, slides and chains that Swing Kingdom incorporates into its playground equipment.

“PennSpring has very complementary skills to Amos. He is strong on the manufacturing floor and we are going to improve operations for the company to exceed growth,” said Lou Castelli, a managing partner at PennSpring.

PennSpring plans to leverage the experience and client base from its other businesses, which largely work with municipalities and school districts, to find more clients for Swing Kingdom and Atlas Molding.

PennSpring also owns Louisville, Kentucky-based PSST Seamless Data Solutions, a company that makes software for school districts. The firm recently sold SkyHawks Sports Academy, a Spokane, Washington company that creates sports camps and programs for kids. Castelli said PennSpring will tap clients from both businesses to spur growth at its two new companies.

The firm plans to work closely with Glick on the business side of Atlas and Swing Kingdom. Castelli said PennSpring sees itself as more than a checkbook and plans to be involved in both Atlas and Swing Kingdom to find new avenues for sales and to streamline manufacturing.

Atlas is a niche plastic rotational molding manufacturer that only sells products to Swing Kingdom and other playground equipment makers. By 2020, Castelli hopes to expand Atlas’ product menu to include plastics for other uses, such as in kayak hulls, helmets, toys and traffic cones.

“With PennSpring’s capital resources, financial expertise, and state, local and education sales acumen, we are now positioned to take Swing Kingdom and Atlas Molding to new heights,” Glick said.

The two businesses have a combined staff 60 people. PennSpring plans to retain them all, following its philosophy of changing as little as possible in the first months after it buys a business, according to Castelli.

The acquisitions break new ground for PennSpring, which has previously focused on businesses across the country and hadn’t yet invested in a business in Lancaster County. To Castelli, the decision to purchase Swing Kingdom and Atlas signifies a change in the firm’s mindset.

“We believe this is the first of many in the local market, but it did take me realizing that we didn’t need to go far to find opportunity under our nose,” he said. “We prefer deals and will pay more for deals in this geography. We think we could give more value to them.”