Black sells National Marker to Illinois-based company


NORTH SMITHFIELD – A sign manufacturing business on Providence Pike that’s been locally owned and operated since 2012 has been sold to an Illinois company.

National Marker Company has been purchased by Justrite Safety Group, and longtime President and Owner Michael Black has move on to a job in the financial services industry.

First opened in 1934 in Pawtucket as a fire warning sign screen printer, NMC gradually moved toward production of safety identification products as awareness of workplace safety issues heightened. In 1999, the company expanded to a larger location in North Smithfield.

Black, a town resident, has served as president of the company since 1997. In 2012, he purchased the business, reportedly turning down a lucrative payout in hopes to save jobs and continue growth.

NMC has been named as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work by Providence Business News for four consecutive years, and was recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2020 for Rhode Island & New England Small Business Manufacturer. The company, located at 100 Providence Pike, employs roughy 50 people.

In January, Black became a business consultant for MJB Associates.

“The combination of NMC and Justrite will offer a best-in-class portfolio which will be supported by industry leading talent. I am excited for our customers and the overall safety industry,” said Black of the sale in a release.

NMC has manufactured safety identification products for a variety of sectors for more than 80 years, including food and beverage, construction, oil and gas, utilities, transportation, petrochemical and medical, and more.

Justrite, based in Des Plaines, Ill., produces similar safety products.

“The acquisition of NMC allows us to serve customers with the single most comprehensive portfolio in the safety, facility, and environmental protection arena,” said Mark McElhinny, president and CEO of Justrite Safety Group. “NMC’s commitment to customers aligns nicely with JSG’s brand promise, and its first and greatest responsibility: keeping people, property, and the planet safe.”

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