Earlier in 2020, Step2 Discovery was able to complete an acquisition of a company in Georgia that enabled it to add a third manufacturing facility, which CEO Tony Ciepiel says should help with production and enable the company to meet the increased demand they’re seeing.

COVID-19 created increased demand for Step2 Discovery’s products. Its Backyard Discovery business benefited a lot from increased demand for playsets, pergolas and pavilions. Product, he says, is being sold as fast as they can make it and ship it.

That business, he says, is looking to make bolt on acquisitions to aid growth. This past year it pursued a company in Germany, but it was ultimately outbid for the opportunity.

It also looked at a company for Step2 as a bolt on in California and was also outbid for that opportunity.

“What we’re finding is there’s a lot of PE money on the sidelines that’s looking for companies that are winning in this environment driving up the multiples,” Ciepiel says. “And so if you’re buying it’s a tough environment. But if you’re selling, it’s a good time.”

In the M&A area, the company is looking for unique products that are in spaces where the company has “permission to win, permission to play” that can be added on to the outdoor living space or in the toy space. Success in that area, he says, will be about finding the right deal and staying disciplined.

At the Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers Conference, Ciepiel talked about how the company has fared so far through the pandemic, and the challenges it’s so far faced transacting in this environment. Hit play on the video above to catch the full interview.