At the end of 2011, two strong Companies who had been partners for more than 25 years joined forces to continue their story together...
In 1952 the Sbar family opened Sbar's Inc., a crafts, hobbies, and school supply retail store in Camden, New Jersey. The Company started out small, employing only a handful of Team Members. In 1963 the Company hired a general helper by the name of Adolph J. Piperno, or Pepe as he is known to all. In the early 1970s, Sbar's realized that there was a need for a wholesale arts and crafts distributor to service retail stores on the East Coast. With this information, and the support of many, Sbar's opened their first 10,000 square foot arts and crafts wholesale distribution center in 1973 in Camden, New Jersey.
By 1985 Sbar's was operating a thriving business in a 60,000 square foot distribution center in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey and realized that they would soon have to start planning for another expansion. By this time, Pepe had been working for the Company for more than 20 years and held numerous positions of growing responsibility. Pepe was ready for his next challenge and was named President of Sbar's in 1985 due to his dedication, drive and determination. His passion for the business was contagious and he was a leader with a vision for the future. In this same year, A.C. Moore opened their first arts and crafts retail store one town over in Moorestown, New Jersey in the Moorestown Mall. This first A.C. Moore store was approximately 20,000 square feet, employed 35 full time and part time Team Members and had 45,000 SKUs.
The two businesses formed an immediate partnership at that time and both Companies continued to grow and support one another over the years.
Pepe became owner of Sbar's Inc. in 1988 and was ready to take the Company to the next level. He was a leader who remained dedicated to providing excellent service to our customers; dedicated to providing opportunities for our Team Members; and dedicated to giving back to the community. He was a leader full of energy and high standards and one who everyone wanted to follow. In May 1991, Sbar's opened the doors to a brand new, 150,000 square foot building in Moorestown, New Jersey. This building remains the home of Sbar's Inc. today and through two facility expansions has grown to a 300,000 square foot building.
By 1996, A.C. Moore had grown from a single store to a chain of 17 stores and had relocated the main office and distribution center to a facility in Blackwood, New Jersey. In August 2004, with 90 stores in the chain, A.C. Moore expanded again when we relocated our main office and distribution center to a 750,000 square foot state of the art facility in Berlin, New Jersey. This building remains home of A.C. Moore today.
The partnership between Sbar's and A.C. Moore continued to flourish as each business was expanding. As A.C. Moore was growing, Pepe also continued to grow the Sbar's business by offering the best customer service, the best mix of products at competitive prices and by having one of the best delivery guarantees in the business. Sbar's continued to service all of the A.C. Moore stores that were booming on the East Coast; more customer accounts were established; a partnership to distribute arts and crafts in England was created; and by 2007 Sbar's had purchased Pitman Art Supply and several Ben Franklin Craft stores.
In 2011 A.C. Moore, which had now grown to over 5000 Team Members with 140 stores located from Maine to Florida, announced that it would be selling the business. The Company was in need of a new leader who possessed the vision and passion to propel the Company forward in a positive direction. At the end of 2011 Pepe purchased A.C. Moore. It was the beginning of new opportunity and promise. Our supporters; our loyal customers; and the many hard working and dedicated Team Members of Sbar's and A.C. Moore all made this acquisition possible. And this is where our combined story begins...