Paper Ya, a successful retail stationery and gift store that was established in 1986 had a unique selection of contemporary products and artistic classics, with handmade paper from around the world being the main product focus. The founders, Denise and Sharon who were artists by trade, became partners and opened Paper Ya to create an unforgettable shopping experience for their customers. To expand their product offerings, they brought in art and exclusive merchandise that was ever-changing. Their location in the Net Loft Building on Granville Island became well known as they grew over 28 years, and when it came time to sell the business, the annual revenues and net income of the business were at the highest levels ever.
Due to the wonderful relationship they had with the owner of the Net Loft Building and the culture their store created in the space, it was critical that they found a buyer who would maintain their store without drowning out the eclectic, local feel that was so integral to Paper Ya.
Paper Ya’s financials were healthy, but the industry itself was declining, and it was unclear whether the business would enjoy the same success under new ownership. Additionally, Granville Island had strict potential buyer requirements around any sale, ultimately narrowing the buyer pool. Our business brokerage group was up for the challenge!
The brokerage was tasked with finding a buyer with local experience in a similar retail setting, but they also had to agree to not franchise the store or make it a chain, and they couldn’t be a hands-off investor, all with a $1.1 million price tag. Most buyers who fit the criteria set by Granville Island couldn’t afford the price of Paper Ya.
With so many requirements in front of us, our agents spent time ensuring the current owners and landlords were 100% aligned and worked with them to do an entire process reset. There had to be a strict screening process that kept buyers enticed during every step.
Addressing all of the concerns would have been impossible for many firms, but Klein Group is known for its creative problem solving and assessing all stakeholder interests. To better target the right buyer pool, new sourcing plans were put in place such as requiring a Buyer’s application, increasing networking and direct marketing to local small business consultants, financial advisors, local BIAs, and more. By reaching out to a broader network, working with immigration consultants, business banks, targeting related businesses and utilizing social media target marketing for the sale, our agents were able to source qualified buyers that had proper experience and a passion for the arts.
An in-depth screening process for the confidential sale was quickly implemented. It included the execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement and rigorous qualifying criteria such as:
Denise and Sharon, the current owners of Paper Ya were very involved in the process of sourcing and interviewing potential candidates. Since they were the masterminds behind this extremely successful operation, they knew what to look for in terms of personality and leadership styles. There was also an agreement in place with Granville Island that included letting the landlord vet the final two candidates before a decision was made.
Before Klein Group got involved, a buyer that seemed to be a good fit was rejected by the landlord because they lacked local experience in a similar setting. After the new plan was devised and executed, seven potential candidates were identified and interviewed.
Our business brokers worked diligently to finalize negotiations with the final buyer and ensure the landlord approved as well. The buyer was sourced through a small business financial advisor network and marketing campaign, had extensive experience in family-run operations, and had a background in fashion retail and the arts. He was fully pre-approved by the bank, making this sale extremely smooth once the right person was identified.