SOLD! Canaries welcome new owners with big plans

Posted: 3/16/2021

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SIOUX FALLS -- Small business leader and Sioux Falls native Brian Slipka, founder and managing partner of True North Equity Partners, along with entrepreneurs Anthony Albanese and Sam Swartz, co-founders of Duke Cannon Supply Co., today announced their purchase of the Sioux Falls Canaries on March 12, through True North Sports LLC.

"We're on a mission to provide the hard-working folks of South Dakota a best-in-class fan experience both on and off the field," Albanese said. "We're investing in some immediate improvements to the Birdcage and that's just the beginning. We're Canary crazy. We love baseball and South Dakota, and we look forward to having a positive impact on the community."

Slipka said he is confident the fans are going to enjoy True North LLC's approach to improving the baseball experience, and that word will spread quickly:

"The Canaries will be the hottest ticket in Sioux Falls, starting with our home opener on May 18," Slipka said. "And personally, this means a lot to my family. I was born in Sioux Falls and my mom grew up here. In a way, it's like a homecoming."

Albanese is "extremely excited about the opportunity to be a part of professional baseball -- especially in the Heart of America! Sioux Falls is at the center of 'Duke Cannon Country' -- a place where common sense is actually common, barbecue is considered an art form, and core values like chivalry and patriotism aren't considered old-fashioned."

As managing partner of the Canaries, Slipka will serve as the team's delegate to the American Association of Professional Baseball.

"In purchasing the Canaries, we see an uparalleled opportunity to leverage Twan's (Anthony) and Sam's experience in creative brand develeopment for the benefit of South Dakota baseball fans and the American Association of Professional Baseball," Slipka said. "We are committed to the league and giving fans a thrilling experience. We are also excited to roll out some long-germ planning and partnerships with the city and business leaders."

"We would like to thank the City of Sioux Falls, our fans, sponsors, and employees for the support and commitment they have shown the Canaries over the past years," current owners Mark Ogren and Tom Garrity said in a joint statement." 

Garrity will be staying on in the short term as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition. Canaries general manager Duell Higbe will remain on board and serve as a key leader to build this exciting vision over the coming years.

About Anthony Albanese: Mr. Albanese is the co-founder of a national leading men's grooming company, Duke Cannon Supply Co. He and fellow co-founder Sam Swartz grew the company from conception to being recognized as one of the most highly-respected and fastest-growing consumer goods brands in the country. Duke Cannon has created a cult-like consumer following, both online and at key retail partners such as Target, CVS, Carhartt, Duluth Trading, and Hy-Vee. Duke Cannon products are made in the USA and the company donates a portion of all proceeds to veterans' causes. The company recently partnered with strategic investment firm Main Post Partners to accelerate long-term growth and Mr. Albanese remains the company's brand innovation leader. Previously, he served as a marketing leader at PepsiCo., on the Gatorade brand, and worked as a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.

About Brian Slipka: Mr. Slipka, through True North Equity Partners, is the managing partner of more than a dozen independent small businesses throughout the Upper Midwest. They include businesses such as Honour Capital, Sunbelt Businesss Advisors, Contact Cartage, Twin City Metal Steal, and Transport Designs. Along with his wife, he is a co-founder of The Slipka Foundation, which focuses on education, community involvement, and character-building. Through the foundation, the Slipkas provide scholarships to high school and college students, fund multiple park renovations and community improvements, and support character-building programs and leadership development initiatives for youth and young adults.