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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)


Chattanooga's PlayCore, the nation's largest maker of playground equipment, has acquired six companies since the start of 2017 under Roger Posacki, the company's new president and chief executive officer.

That came after the retirement of CEO Bob Farnsworth, who started with the privately held company 19 years ago when it only had seven employees in the corporate office — compared to 105 now — and two factories. Farnsworth helped build PlayCore into a behemoth with 26 brands of playground and aquatics equipment, site furnishings, indoor and outdoor fitness, and spectator seating.

On Thursday, PlayCore took on higher visibility in its hometown, as it moved its headquarters from sharing an office building at 401 Chestnut St. to leasing the entire two floors at 531 Broad St. in the former FSG Bank building.

The Broad Street office will serve as corporate headquarters for PlayCore, and home for the sales and marketing departments for several of the company's brands.

"We're pretty happy to be here," PlayCore spokeswoman Anne-Marie Spencer said Thursday evening at an open house at the company's new digs downtown.

Employees were spread out over several floors in the former office, she said, but PlayCore installed lots of windows in offices that line hallways at the new address and made other changes to create a feeling of openness.

"We have lots of neat, collaborative office spaces," Spencer said.

PlayCore signed a 10-year lease in the new space.

"This is home. This is where the company grew up," Posacki said. "We're going to continue to grow through both core growth and acquisitions."

PlayCore buys companies that compliment its existing products, he said.

For example, companies that make swimming pool rails and starting blocks would add to the company's line of aquatic equipment. The idea is to make PlayCore a one-stop shop for a municipality, school or other organization building or park.

In 2014, New York City-based Sentinel Capital Partners, a private equity firm focusing on middle market investments, bought PlayCore, which has more than $400 million in annual revenues.

Along with the headquarters in downtown, PlayCore employs about 350 Chattanooga-area people at a production plant in Fort Payne, Ala.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at or or on Twitter @meetforbusiness or 423-757-6651.

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June 30, 2017


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