This is my first post but I have been reading for about 10 years. This might be long but I want to try to get as much info as possible out. An opportunity might be coming up and I was hoping to get some thoughts.
My store has been open for almost 20 years and I have owned it for 15 of those. It is in a small town of about 7300 with my delivery area reaching about 8500. I own the building the store is in. It is on the corner of a busy intersection in town. It has a small dining room and no parking lot. It is the oldest building in town and was not made to house a restaurant. Customers park on the street wherever they can find a spot or in the bank parking lot across the street. Our sales consist of about 40% delivery, 40% carry out, and 20% dine in. This is by # of sales not dollars. There are three other stores in my town; one of the big three, a local chain that is in a gas station, and another independent. I’m very confident that I am doing the most business in town because I have talked with people who work at the others but don’t know for sure because I didn’t ask for sales numbers.
The owner of the other independent has been looking to sell for the last few years but can’t find a buyer because he is asking too much. He offered it to me but I am not interested in his place. I also found out last week that the big three store is struggling and did away with their buffet to try to save money. The struggling part is a rumor but the buffet closing is confirmed. This place does interest me. My thoughts were if they close, I would be interested in buying their building and moving my store across town. Their dining area is about 2.5-3 times bigger than mine and they have their own parking lot. As I said before, it is a small town and customers would not lose me if I were to move.
My Dad (who is also my general manager) thinks I am crazy because I own my business and have no business debt but I would have to take out a loan to buy that building. However, I’m thinking with the increased revenue from the combination of taking out a competitor and possibly expanding my menu, it would pay for itself in the long run. I also think that if they do close, some other pizza place may swoop in if I decide not to. I was hoping to get the opinions from people who have been in my situation on a few questions.
Am I crazy? Should I look to expand in this way or should I just be happy with what I have?
Would it be rude of me as their competitor to contact the owner and tell them I am interested in their place?
If I were to contact them, how should I go about it? My cousin is a realtor. I thought of having her write them a letter and telling them someone is interested. Should I do that or call them myself to discuss the possibilities of a buyout?
Thanks in advance for any info.