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Five Pound Apparel has new owners in place.SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON
Five Pound Apparel has new owners in place.

SBJ photo by WES HAMILTON

Five Pound Apparel sale closes

Posted online
Five Pound Apparel LLC officially has new owners.

Via Thomas Holding Co. LLC, Brina and Ben Thomas closed yesterday on the purchase from owner Bryan Simpson for undisclosed terms, said Kingsley Group business broker Clayton Cooper, who handled the transaction.

Brina Thomas said this morning she and her husband plan to continue operating Five Pound Apparel’s stores downtown and on the south side in Farmers Park and retain a combined 10 employees.

“I’ve worked in the retail industry for several years now and that’s what my degree is in,” said Thomas, who graduated in December from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising and recently resigned as manager at Ellecor Design & Gifts in Farmers Park. “I was planning on staying manager at Ellecor but when I saw the post that Five Pound Apparel was for sale, I thought it was a good idea to look into the details of that.

“It was just a perfect opportunity as far as timing.”

Thomas said she is leading the day-to-day operations of Five Pound, and her husband will continue to work as a bank examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

On Dec. 15, Springfield Business Journal reported Thomas Holding Co. was the interested buyer in the 6-year-old socially conscious clothing retailer and was nearing a deal. In October, Simpson listed Five Pound for sale and indicated he was interested in a new entrepreneurial challenge.

This morning, Simpson said he would be available over the next year to help the Thomases transition.

“It’s a mixture of emotions,” Simpson said of closing the deal. “It’s been just an awesome ride. I feel extremely blessed to have had that opportunity and to be supported by really a whole city.

“That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Thomas Holding Co. plans to continue Five Pound’s philanthropic mission built into its name and business model. The retailer donates five pounds of food to malnourished children via Ozarks Food Harvest for every purchase, Thomas said. The company previously donated food to children in Nepal.

“We feel that mission is a pretty strong core of the business model and we don’t intend on changing,” she said. “The philanthropic aspect is what makes it unique.”

Thomas said she also has plans to expand Five Pound’s wholesale operation, specifically its line of “Missouri is Awesome” clothing.

Last month in a Facebook post, Simpson said the company has served more than 100,000 customers and provided some 500,000 meals to people in need, as well as 30,000 books and 10,000 pairs of shoes during the past six years.

Simpson and his brother Matthew started the screen-printing business during their college years. Five Pound launched on South Avenue downtown six year ago, followed by a second store opening at Farmers Park in 2014. Matthew Simpson now works as director of research, strategic planning and grant development for Ozarks Technical Community College.

Bryan Simpson said he hasn’t yet decided what entrepreneurial challenge he’ll take on, but he has ideas.

“They’re all over the board,” he said. “In the short term, I’m going to travel to Costa Rica and maybe learn to surf. I’m hoping to have an epiphany on the beach.”

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