At the 38th Annual STAFDA trade show and conference, Southern Fastening Systems and Carlson Systems announced the combination of two longtime leaders in fasteners, fastening systems, and packaging.

The combination creates a new company uniquely positioned to serve the growing construction and industrial manufacturing markets, with an unparalleled ability to serve clients on a national basis with a local touch.

The companies have very little overlap in geography, enabling Southern and Carlson to continue operating as separate divisions and retain their historic company names in the near term.

The combination joins Carlson Systems’ 60 branches and Southern Fastening Systems’ 76 branches, operating in 34 states and Mexico, under one company. Southern Fastening Systems President Jim Whitley said, “Carlson Systems has a 67-year history of providing excellent service to both industrial and construction customers. This philosophy blends well with Southern’s dedication to the service and quality that Steve McKinney (SFS founder-­?deceased) so strongly believed in.”

“The Southern brand has long been admired and shares Carlson Systems values of service, quality, and integrity,” said Todd Carlson, CEO of Carlson Systems. “This combination is a fitting legacy to the McKinney family, the founders of Southern, and the Carlson family. We are very excited to join these two companies, and deliver increased value to our customers through the talents, products and services of both companies. Customers, suppliers and employees can expect no disruption to normal operations.”

Key strategic benefits of the combination include:

  • Augmented product offerings and deeper market footprint. The larger distribution reach offers suppliers to the combined company unmatched access to customers in North America.
  • Enhanced service. The combination of the companies’ resources allows for accelerated investment in technology and personnel, reinforcing our leading position in service to our most valued constituents—the customers who have supported Southern and Carlson over our many decades of operation.
  • Plans to pursue further expansion. The combination allows the combined company to pursue organic and inorganic growth opportunities while continually investing in our value proposition to customers and suppliers.

Southern and Carlson are joined under a holding company with no immediate plans to change how each business is run as integration of the two companies’ moves forward. Whitley and Carlson will continue in their current leadership roles, operating each company independently, as before the combination.