Ken Merritt | March 16 2018

Our History

Every great story has a beginning. Ours started in 1928 with 2 brothers-in-law: Valler Snauwaert and Eugeen Depla, who were working in the bodywork department of a car garage in Beveren. At the time a lot of cars were still being constructed out of wood, so they decided to use their experience to start making their own wooden hockey sticks, sledges, canoes and tennis rackets.

Valler and Eugeen used ash wood imported from Northern France and exported their products to England, Germany, the Balkans and even South-Africa. Thanks to their undimmed passion and the economic growth of the leisure industry during the interbellum, their company soon became a success. By 1940, they employed 35 people. During World War II business tailed off and production was limited to sledges. After the liberation they wanted to restart their business, but then Valler suddenly passed away in 1945.

Eugeen Depla continued to run the company in the same spirit, offering excellent quality for a reasonable price. This made it possible to become a player on the international market. In the 1950s Depla was joined by his son André and his nephew Karel Snauwaert, who would later lead the company to further success. More and more, production was focused on tennis rackets.

By the 1960s tennis had become very popular in the US and the company had to adapt quickly to mass production. A second factory opened in Diksmuide and production peaked at 3 million rackets per year.

A decade later the US market was flooded with cheap rackets imported from Taiwan, so Europe was now the main focus. The high-end ‘Snauwaert’ racket was launched and became quite popular among professional players, such as Mikael Pernfors, Vital Gerulaitis, Brian Gottfried and Miloslav Mečíř. Snauwaert even partnered up with the ATP.

In the mid-1980s the company decided to close the factories in Belgium and moved to Porto. However, the factory in Porto was never a success and the first part of our story ended in 1991.

Today we are bringing the legendary SNAUWAERT brand back where it deserves, on the tennis court. No wooden rackets this time, but high quality carbon frames with the newest technologies.

After 3 years of development and testing, SNAUWAERT offers an easy to understand product line to offer top performing racquets, strings, grips and overgrips and accessories for every style of play, together with an innovative modular racquet bag and backpack.

On November 2nd 2017, SNAUWAERT srl has signed a long term agreement with BIG Group to take over the global business and acquire SNAUWAERT JAPAN Inc, active since 2016.

SNAUWAERT srl, newco based in Italy, owned by NOXI srl and a pool of investors, is led by the CEO Roberto Gazzara, former Executive in Prince Sports and designer of current SNAUWAERT product line.

Kenny Kukita is confirmed, after the great initial success, as GM of SNAUWAERT Japan.

SNAUWAERT is now active in USA through its subsidiary based in Denver area. Ken Merritt, very well-known and respected figure in the tennis industry, former Marketing and Promotion Manager for Prince and other important sport brand, is now the VP of Marketing and Sales.

Operations in Europe, managed directly from the Italian Headquarters, will be resumed in April 2018.

Ken Merritt
USA  

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