September 12, 2023

Continuim Announces Sale of Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions

Continuim Equity Partners (“Continuim”) is pleased to announce the firm’s first realization with the recent sale of Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions (“Merlot” or the “Company”) to Safe Fleet.

Continuim acquired Merlot from Vince and Lori Merlot in 2021 and is proud to have had the opportunity to carry on the Company’s legacy and partner with the Company’s employees and management team, led by Bob Schwab, to help drive continued growth and success under our ownership.

George Pilafas, Managing Partner of Continuim Equity Partners, stated “Merlot was a perfect transaction to deploy Continuim's value drivers. The Company has a fantastic reputation in the market, and we saw an opportunity to significantly expand its manufacturing capacity to fulfill unmet demand in the market. Our focus on Lean manufacturing initiatives transformed the company in a short period of time, and we are happy to have Safe Fleet shepherd the business through its next phase of growth on a national level.”

Robert Schwab, President of Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions, said, “Continuim is not your typical Equity Partnership. Their refreshing approach and powerful business model enabled us to unlock capacity to achieve unprecedented growth and profitability.”

Henry Watson, President of Continuim Equity Partners, stated “Our goal with each investment is to double the size of the business. With Merlot, we worked closely with Management to more than double the Company’s manufacturing capacity through implementing Continuim’s Operational Playbook, which is based on Lean manufacturing principles. As we began to fill that increased capacity with increased sales and service-based revenue from an expanded regional customer base, we sought a new partner that could further accelerate the Company’s growth on a national level. We are proud to have worked with and invested in Bob Schwab and the Merlot team to transform the business and its operations in such a short time, and believe Merlot is well positioned for continued success with Safe Fleet.”

About Continuim Equity Partners

Continuim is a Pittsburgh-based private equity fund with over $100 million of capital commitments. We focus exclusively on acquiring and continuing the growth of successful manufacturing and industrial businesses ranging from $3MM to $10MM of EBITDA.

We bring a Operational Playbook, committed capital, and a talented team of industrial operators to support family or founder-owned manufacturing, value-added distribution, and industrial maintenance companies in the Midwest and Midatlantic. Our name is derived from what we consider most important to the growth of family or founder-owned industrial businesses, continuous improvement.

About Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions

Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions is a leading designer, manufacturer, installer and servicer of innovative rolling tarpaulin systems and replacement parts. Merlot’s unique segmented design provides the industry’s highest level of durability and lowest lifetime costs for fleets of all sizes and for truck and trailer owner/operators.

Since 1960, Merlot has built a strong reputation for constructing innovative tarping systems from only the highest quality materials. Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions is a leader in today's tarpaulin industry, meeting the needs of its customers in both quality and customer satisfaction. From their main facility in Pittsburgh, PA, Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions supplies its national dealers and distributors and stock warehouses with superior tarpaulin products. Rolling tarp systems have replaced side kits as the preferred method for covering flatbed freight. The Vango rolling tarp system from Merlot Vango Tarping Solutions is fast becoming the #1 rolling tarp system on the market today. The Vango has earned the reputation as the most durable and easy-to-operate rolling tarp system on America's highways. For more information, visit

About Safe Fleet

Headquartered in Belton, MO, Safe Fleet is the leading provider of safety solutions for fleet vehicles. They are committed to saving lives, preventing injuries, and making fleets more productive. Their best-of-breed smart solutions form an integrated safety platform for fleets of every type – School Bus, Transit, Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, Work Truck, Truck & Trailer, Construction, Agriculture, Waste & Recycling, Industrial and Military. With a broad portfolio of market-leading brands, 1,800 employees, 15 manufacturing locations and 12 service centers, Safe Fleet continues to innovate and deliver the smart safety solutions that fleets need to survive and thrive in a changing world – and ensure that drivers, passengers, and everyone around them arrive home safely. Safe Fleet is driving safety forward for today’s and tomorrow’s fleets. For more information visit Safe Fleet is a portfolio company of Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Certain statements about Continuim made by portfolio company executives herein are intended to illustrate the work of Continuim’s team with such portfolio companies. Such portfolio companies [may be controlled] by investment vehicles managed by Continuim. Portfolio company executives were not compensated in connection with their participation, although they generally receive compensation and investment opportunities in connection with their portfolio company roles, and in certain cases are also owners of portfolio company securities [and/or investors in Continuim-sponsored vehicles]. Such compensation and investments subject participants to potential conflicts of interest in making the statements herein.