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But Harvé Benard and GarfieldMarks weren't a good match, Sheer said. He and the other new owners inherited strained relationships with the lines' suppliers and as a result they had trouble shipping on time. In September, Wellington Capital Group, a New York equity firm, bought Harvé Benard for $12 million, and GarfieldMarks was left searching for a buyer. When speculation about a sale surfaced in December, banks froze the firm's loans, so the Dec. 22 deal was welcome.
"Harvé Benard never provided us with that back end," Sheer said. "With Harvé Benard sold, there were a lot of people very interested in GarfieldMarks, but we needed someone on the operating end. After our experience with Harvé Benard, my expectations were much lower, and [being managed by Rousso Apparel Group] was really an eye opener. Everyone feels very excited and confident."