03.05.2013 Williams Mullen Helps Best Bully Sticks Secure Investment from Culbro, LLC

Press release from TDBBS, LLC

TDBBS, LLC, a Richmond, VA-based manufacturer and marketer of all natural dog treats and chews, announced the completion of a minority investment by Culbro, LLC, a family-controlled private equity firm based in New York City. The transaction closed on February 28, 2013; terms were not disclosed.

Founded by Avrum and Lauren Elmakis in 2007, TDBBS has achieved extraordinary growth since inception and was ranked #384 in Inc. Magazine’s 2012 “Inc. 500” ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. TDBBS specializes in bully sticks, elk antlers, and other natural, high protein dog chews that are highly digestible and are becoming increasingly popular among dog owners across the U.S. and abroad. In addition to bully sticks, the company also offers a wide variety of complementary all natural dog treats and chews to consumers through its proprietary ecommerce sites and also through other retail channels.


Culbro, LLC was formed in 2005 as the private equity investment vehicle of the Cullman family and is presently managed by members of that family. Among numerous successful businesses it has owned, the Cullman family owned and operated General Cigar Holdings, Inc., the largest premium cigar company in the U.S. with prestigious brands such as Macanudo and Partagas, for over forty years before selling the company in 2005. The principals of Culbro have significant operating and investing experience across a number of industries, with a particular focus on consumer products companies.


Avrum Elmakis, Founder and CEO of TDBBS, said, “I am very excited to partner with Culbro. The knowledge and first-hand experience that the Culbro team has through its development of a world-class consumer products company like General Cigar will be invaluable to TDBBS as we seek to capitalize on the many exciting growth opportunities in the pet industry. This transaction will enable TDBBS to accelerate our growth at an even greater pace due to the resources, guidance and access to capital that Culbro brings.”


“In a relatively short time span TDBBS has established itself as a leader in the dynamic pet products industry by providing pet owners with innovative products that are all natural, great-tasting and healthy for their pets,” said Edgar Cullman, Jr., Managing Member of Culbro, “We are looking forward to working with Avrum and the rest of the TDBBS team to continue to build upon their success to date.”


David Danziger, Managing Member of Culbro, said, “Avrum and his team have done an extraordinary job building a successful business with a number of attributes that we look for when making an investment, including a strong leadership team, loyal customer relationships and sustainable competitive advantages. The fact that TDBBS operates in an industry that is expanding so rapidly makes this investment even more compelling for Culbro.”


Marriott & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to TDBBS on this transaction. Williams Mullen provided legal advice to TDBBS, and Gunster provided legal advice to Culbro on this transaction.


Justin Marriott, Managing Director of Marriott & Co. said, “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Avrum and the rest of the TDBBS team on this important transaction. The cultural fit between TDBBS and Culbro was evident throughout this entire process, and I know that TDBBS is poised for great things under this new partnership.”


Added Mr. Elmakis, “I can’t thank the Marriott & Co. team enough for the amazing job they did throughout this process. They managed an efficient and professional process to ensure that TDBBS found a private equity partner that truly understands our unique business model.”




Headquartered in Richmond, VA, TDBBS, LLC is a leading manufacturer and marketer of premium pet related products throughout the U.S. and abroad. TDBBS provides its loyal customer base with a diverse line of unique products in the pet industry including all natural dog treats and chews. Among its product offerings are bully sticks, which are all natural, high protein dog treats and chews that the company markets in a variety of shapes, sizes and varieties. TDBBS sells its products to consumers through its ecommerce sites, and it has also developed relationships with some of the leading distributors and retailers across the U.S.

TDBBS was founded in 2007 and has achieved a triple-digit revenue growth rate since its inception. In Inc. Magazine’s 2012 “Inc. 500” ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., TDBBS was ranked #384.


About Culbro, LLC

Based in New York, NY, Culbro, LLC ( is the private equity investment vehicle of the Cullman family and is presently managed by members of that family. Culbro primarily focuses on making equity investments of $10 to $20 million in middle market companies across a variety of sectors, including branded consumer products, health care services, education products and services and other outsourced services including information technology. The firm invests its partners’ capital and is supported by a number of allied investors who often invest alongside it, providing for flexible investment structures and time horizons. The Managing Members of Culbro are former operating executives who seek to partner with strong existing management teams to help their companies grow.

The Cullman family has a rich history dating back to 1884 which includes owning and managing a number of successful companies, including General Cigar Holdings, Inc., the largest premium cigar manufacturer and marketer in the U.S. with prestigious brands including Macanudo and Partagas. Upon completing a sale of its interests in General Cigar to Swedish Match AB in 2005, the Cullman family created Culbro, LLC as its private equity investment vehicle. In addition to its U.S. operations, Culbro invests in India through its associated company, Helix Investments