Gerard Connelly, president and majority owner of Tri-State Distributors Inc., has sold all four Tri-State stores located in Moscow, ID; Moses Lake, WA; Coeur d' Alene, ID; and Lewiston, ID effective October 1st , to Crown Enterprises Inc (d.b.a. Sportsman & Ski Haus.) Sportsman & Ski Haus, founded in 1968, is an employee owned sporting goods store with locations in Kalispell and Whitefish, MT.
Connelly emphasized that all stores will continue business as usual under the new ownership. Sportsman & Ski Haus CEO Mike Gwiazdon and company President David Harvey have stated, “What Gerard and the Tri-State folks have been doing has obviously been very successful so it wouldn't make sense for us to go in there and start changing things.”
Connelly said that his reason for selling Tri-State's stores was to ensure that the business will continue to thrive for generations to come. Under the terms of the sale the Connelly family retains ownership of the store buildings and real-estate.
“Because the business is very strong several parties were potential buyers,” Connelly said. “My sister, Mary Connelly, who is our Chief Financial Officer, and I selected a buyer whose corporate culture and values closely mirror our own. Mike Gwiazdon and Dave Harvey understand the importance of Tri-State to the community and they have assured us that they will maintain Tri-State's leadership of support of local charities. Furthermore Sportsman & Ski Haus has a generous benefits package for its employees so we are confident that our employees will be treated with fairness and respect.”
Connelly said that he has mixed emotions about the sale of the company business that was founded by his father 64 years ago but that he will be 60 years old on his next birthday and after 33 years of running the company the time has come to lay the ground work for his exit.
“By far my primary responsibility, for the sake of my family, our employees and the community, is to secure the future of Tri-State beyond my own career and that is what we are accomplishing with this transfer in ownership to a great company,” he said.
Gerard Connelly and Mary Connelly will continue to work for the company in their current capacity to assist in the transition.