Trico GM buys out Ottawa-based print company’s assets from family owners

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Michael Hothi is the new president and owner of Trico Packaging and Print Solutions Inc. File photo

A long-standing family business in Ottawa is taking its first steps under new ownership this month.

Michael Hothi, the former general manager of Tri-Co Group, purchased the family-run business’s assets in a deal that closed in late February. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Though it launched as a commercial printer in Ottawa back in 1984, Tri-Co has grown over the years to include marketing services and other business lines in Montreal under the “Trico Evolution” banner.

Hothi tells OBJ the company’s Montreal operations are now run under a different brand and separate ownership, with his slice of the business run exclusively from the company’s Ottawa outpost near the intersection of Hunt Club Road and Prince of Wales Drive. The 45-person firm now operates as Trico Packaging & Print Solutions Inc.

Hothi was first brought into the Trico brand in November 2018 as the director of the company’s sales team, progressing to a general manager role the following summer. It was shortly afterwards that he entered into succession conversations with the business owners.

Hothi says one of his strengths is guiding entrepreneur-run businesses in the packaging industry through generational transitions to help the business survive past the original owner’s exit.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for me to replicate, on an even larger scale, some of the things I had done elsewhere.”

Though Trico’s print sales had lagged in recent years, Hothi says he was able to turn out double-digit revenue increases during his first year with the company. He said the commercial printing stream will remain a foundation for Trico moving forward, as will its industrial packaging segment.

Hothi said the business itself has plenty of value, adding the transformation has mainly been a process of examining operating procedures and taking a closer look at machine maintenance and other efficiencies that could help the company become more competitive in terms of both pricing and quality.

For Hothi, who is new to Ottawa himself, taking the reins of a well-known local brand is an opportunity to tap into its connections from three-and-a-half decades in business.

“We obviously have a long-standing history within the Ottawa business community,” he says. “I'm looking forward to becoming more engaged within the business community and within the community in general.”