Bernau Capital Partners Acquires Eight Mile Pets, Inc., Developing its Presence in the Pet Supply Industry

West Des Moines, Iowa, February 12, 2024 – Bernau Capital Partners, a family of affiliated companies owned by Thomas R. Bernau specializing in growth-oriented business holdings, announced the acquisition of Eight Mile Pets, Inc., a thriving franchisee of Pets Supplies Plus. With seven established stores and an eighth store set to launch in May 2024, Eight Mile Pets, Inc. has solidified its position as a premier destination for its neighbors across Iowa.

The acquisition marks a strategic move for Bernau Capital Partners as it seeks to capitalize on the growing demand for high-quality pet supplies and services. Adding Eight Mile Pets, Inc. to its portfolio aligns with the firm’s commitment to investing in successful, well-positioned businesses with solid growth potential.

“We are thrilled to welcome Eight Mile Pets, Inc. to the Bernau Capital Partners family,” said Thomas R. Bernau, Founder of Bernau Capital Partners. “The company’s track record of success and dedication to providing exceptional products and services make it an ideal fit for our business holdings. We look forward to partnering with the talented team at Eight Mile Pets, Inc. to support their continued growth and expansion.”

Eight Mile Pets, Inc. currently operates seven stores in Cedar Falls, Fleur Drive Des Moines, Altoona, Davenport, Merle Hay Des Moines, Fort Dodge, and Ames, with an eighth store slated to open in Bettendorf in May 2024. Each location offers a wide selection of pet supplies, including food, toys, accessories, a self-service wash area, and grooming services, catering to the region’s diverse neighbors’ needs.

“We are excited to join forces with Bernau Capital Partners as we embark on the next phase of our growth journey,” said Suzy Schweer, Chief Operating Officer of Eight Mile Pets, Inc. “Their expertise and resources will enable us to enhance our operations, expand our reach, and continue delivering exceptional value to our neighbors.”

The acquisition of Eight Mile Pets, Inc. positions Bernau Capital Partners as a critical player in the pet supply industry and underscores its commitment to taking a growth-oriented, long-term view of business holdings.

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EVAC in the news

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Happy Halloween from the Home Office!

Although the spooky season has now come to an end our employees at the home office got to show off their festivity on Halloween. We had a spirited showing for our annual costume contest, so whether your jam is small green aliens from a children’s classic or a goofy airhead from Stranger Things our people had it covered.

With our office filled with laughter and doughnuts (part of our United Way fundraiser, that’s just getting started for the year), we collected to celebrate, unwind, and judge some costumes. Only the most festive few could come away with a gift card and some Halloween candy as a reward for their dedication to the spooky season. Thanks to everyone who makes this office so friendly and fun!

Special congratulations to Amy G on her costume contest win!

FOL-DA-TANK has acquired EVAC Systems Fire & Rescue

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Acquisition of Morningstar

In the Spring of 2022, Bernau Capital completed the extremely exciting purchase of the Morningstar Forest Reserve, outlining our support for the natural environment through land acquisition, restoration, and maintenance. Morningstar reflects our ongoing and proven commitment to investing in Iowa and our Des Moines community.

Typically deemed the responsibility of government; the protection of our landscapes, wildlife, and biodiversity through nature-based investments has increasingly been taken on by the private sector. Bernau Capital is proud to be at the forefront of this national trend.

Located off I-80 just north of Des Moines and nestled between the Des Moines River and a horse stable we fondly refer to as “the Pony Farm,” Morningstar is a 12-acre home to six types of oak (pin, red, white, bur, and chestnut), great ash, black cherry, bald cypress, pecan, American chestnut, hickory, and butternut trees. Planted in 1997, the trees are arranged in rows to promote healthy grass growth and even sunlight distribution.

This gorgeous piece of land is close to our home office and has become a favorite place for CEO Tom Bernau to unwind and spend time outside. He spends many mornings before coming into the office at our new Forest Reserve beneath its amazing trees clearing brush and helping to restore the land. This acquisition is aimed to further an effort at Bernau Capital to be conscious and meaningful in everything that we do and partake in, including enjoying and maintaining our beautiful state.

Bernau Capital Partners Launches New Website

Bernau Capital unveiled its new website designed to best display everything that makes us who we are. Our goal was not only to elevate our businesses and leaders but also to unite the visual identities of our many amazing companies. 

It has been a busy few months, and we are excited to share our website as well as the new logos for Morningstar Forest Reserve, First Iowa Title Company, and Country Bancorporation.

The acquisition of Morningstar Forest Reserve, which we announced earlier this month gave us an exciting opportunity to explore our new design philosophy that allows greater flexibility to represent the project in a variety of contexts by using modular design techniques:

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First Iowa Title Corporation — perhaps better known by one of its three subsidiaries, Boone County, Marshall County, and Webster County Abstract Companies — also received a modern facelift. These logo variations reflect the value each First Iowa Title company provides its local community while also uniting all three in their overall mission. 


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Prior to this summer, our bank holding company, Country Bancorporation, had no logo. The new Country Bancorporation logo captures the classic spirit and history of all of Country Bancorporation’s individual banks, which serve smaller rural communities throughout Iowa.

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We are proud of our website which represents the hard work and strong commitment of our Bernau Capital team. David Phillips, our General Counsel, spoke about the role that the leadership team had in creating this website: 

The best part about creating the new BCP website was also the hardest part. Our philosophy and approach to people and business had not been captured, so interviews with leadership resulted in our values statement as well as the bottoms-up feel of the website. The concept of the BCP Family of Companies was foundational for bringing it all together.

As a company that values measured and intelligent growth, we must be flexible with our website and leave lots of room to expand. To that end, we went live before everything was completely done – for instance, we are still building the History page! Another member of our leadership team who spent lots of time and hard work on this project, Executive Assistant to President and CEO Tom Bernau, Melinda Grask, remarks on growth:

We were so busy running and growing businesses that by the time we went from the first to the last draft of the website we had added so many businesses and people that we had to go back and refresh nearly every element to bring this project home.

We undertook every single one of these projects because of the importance of unity and family at Bernau Capital. We wanted to make sure that everything we put out into the world represents our brand identity. We wanted to refurbish some of our assets to ensure everything was modern, clean, strong, and unified (oh, and we left some room to grow).