Our History

Krambo Corporation was founded in New York City in 1966 by Douglas C. Kramlich, who had previously worked at Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CIGNA) as an analyst in its debt securities department. Having grown up in a family that owned a 55-store supermarket chain sold to Kroger in the mid-1950s, Doug intended to specialize in the placement of financing transactions on behalf of food wholesalers and retailers.

Shopping cart full of groceries

The supermarkets operated under the name “Krambo Food Stores.” Doug obtained Kroger’s consent to use this name for his new investment banking firm – thus, the name “Krambo Corporation” was born.

In 1976, Krambo moved its headquarters from New York to San Francisco and reincorporated in California.

From its inception through 2005, Krambo placed billions of dollars of secured and senior unsecured debt transactions on behalf of publicly held companies and large privately held companies, as well as executed sale/leasebacks and other types of transactions. Its ability to arrange 100%-of-cost financing transactions for new stores and distribution facilities enabled its clients to expand at a financially unencumbered pace.

Financial team

Work for these entities included principally long-term secured and unsecured notes, sale/leasebacks, and tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds in individual transaction amounts from $5-200 million.

These financing transactions were placed with long-term lenders such as life insurance companies, large state pension plans, and related asset managers. Krambo also provided advisory and financial support services, processing of agency ratings (e.g., Standard & Poor’s Corporation), and financial strategy consulting to its clients.

In 2013, Krambo opened its current branch office in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It currently has offices in Ann Arbor and San Francisco, as well as key staff members in Chicago and Honolulu.

Ann Arbor, United States - October 18, 2015 - People walking in the sidewalk of Liberty Street in Downtown Ann Arbor, with storefronts and the Michigan Theater sign, State Theater sign, cars and parked bicycles in the scene, and the Burton Memorial Tower in the distance, during a day with a blue sky with clouds.

Krambo is now owned by Merrill Burns and Ron Gruber, who joined the firm decades ago. Under new ownership, Krambo transitioned its attention to the financing and funding needs of nonprofit community development entities. This work has been the principal focus of the firm for over ten years now.

Many hands raised

Transactions for these nonprofit entities are typically smaller than those traditionally placed by Krambo on behalf of for-profit corporations, but receive the same rigor and intensity. Krambo has placed over 200 financing transactions on behalf of nonprofit community development entities with over 50 different financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, foundations, and other sources of patient capital.

Meet Our Principals

Ronald J. Gruber

Ronald J. Gruber is a principal of Krambo Corporation. Before joining the firm as President in 1980, he was Vice President of a publicly traded supermarket chain. He is also a private equity investor. He graduated from Michigan State University and Wayne State University Law School. He holds Series 24, 82, and 63 securities licenses.

Check the background of Ronald J. Gruber on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

Merrill O. Burns

Merrill O. Burns is a principal of Krambo Corporation. Before joining the firm in 2005, he was a senior officer of a major bank holding company and a partner of an international strategy consulting firm. He is a director of Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. He is a graduate of Kenyon College and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He holds Series 7, 24, and 63 securities licenses.

Check the background of Merrill O. Burns on FINRA’s BrokerCheck.

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