Gridiron Capital-Backed Vertical Supply Group Acquires Yates Gear, Leaders in Fall Protection

The Acquisition Will Further VSG’s Leadership in Work at Height Industries

NEW CANAAN, CT, June 5, 2024 – Gridiron Capital, LLC (“Gridiron Capital”), an investment firm focused on partnering with founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company Vertical Supply Group (“VSG” or the “Company”), a leading supplier and manufacturer of life safety equipment, has acquired Yates Gear (“Yates”). For over 42 years, Yates has been innovating and manufacturing functional, comfortable, and durable fall protection products in climbing, technical rescue, rope access, and tactical equipment industries. The acquisition of Yates is significant as it marks VSG’s fifth acquisition within the fall protection and equipment industry.

Founded in 1982, Yates was founded by brothers James and John Yates as manufacturers of mountaineering and rock-climbing equipment. Their experience in big wall climbing has aided in the design and development of rescue, rigging, rope access, and tactical-specific equipment that combine function, comfort, and durability. In their 30,000-square-foot facility in Redding, California, Yates uses textiles and webbing made in the United States to produce products that are trusted around the world.

“I have tremendous respect for Yates and what the owners, John and Karen Yates, have built over the years,” said Jeff Morris, CEO of VSG. “Their dedication to innovation and safety is second to none, and the brand is the perfect addition to our other world-class brands, such as Sterling, Notch, and Rope Logic. Their expertise in fall protection aligns perfectly with our mission to provide comprehensive safety solutions to our customers. We look forward to offering the Yates brand and product line through our global VSG distribution channels and building on their success going forward.”

“VSG’s new partnership with Yates adds a strong, well-respected safety brand to the VSG portfolio, expands VSG’s addressable market, and demonstrates the Company’s commitment to delivering best-in-class safety solutions for its customers,” said Tom Burger, Managing Partner at Gridiron Capital. “Over the years, VSG has built a comprehensive suite of brands both organically and through M&A and expanded its service, product development, and manufacturing capabilities that enable it to be a leading provider of work at height safety equipment.”

“We are confident that Yates’ strong historical track record and brand reputation in industrial end markets, in combination with VSG’s existing brands and strategy, continue to position the company for success and create tangible growth opportunities for the combined business,” said John Warner, Managing Director at Gridiron Capital.

About Gridiron Capital

Gridiron Capital is an investment firm focused on partnering with founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams, and creating value by building middle-market companies into industry-leaders in branded consumer, B2B and B2C services, and niche industrial segments in the United States and Canada. We help transform growing companies by winning together through hard work, partnerships grounded in shared values, and a unique culture that comes from hands-on experience building and running businesses. As a team led by former operators and entrepreneurs, we know what it takes to run successful businesses on a day-to-day basis. Additional information is available on the firm’s website:

About Vertical Supply Group

Vertical Supply Group (VSG) is a vertically integrated business with focus on product development, manufacturing, and equipment supply. Comprised of brands Sterling, Notch, Rope Logic, and Silky, as well as webstores,,, Universal Field Supplies,, and, VSG delivers the most comprehensive assortment of products for arborists, climbers, rope access and technical rescue technicians and other work at height professionals globally. Learn more at

About Yates Gear

Yates Gear specializes in developing high-quality technical rescue, rope access, and tactical equipment tailored to the needs of their customers. With a legacy of innovation that spans over four decades, Yates products are known for innovation, durability, functionality, and safety, through extensive collaboration with global experts in their respective fields. Yates harnesses, lanyards, anchors, and hardware are meticulously crafted, rigorously tested, and built to withstand the challenges of extreme conditions. When you choose Yates Gear, you’re choosing a partner dedicated to providing the best solutions possible. Learn more at


Gridiron Capital, LLC

Thomas A. Burger Jr.

Co-Founder and Managing Partner


Vertical Supply Group


Karl Wiedemann



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