Will You Sell?

Tonight I swung by a strip mall looking for a vacancy I’d seen awhile back. Vacancy is gone - Allstate agent. I spotted a pizza store there I’d never noticed. I am shocked. How do I not know about the shop!? (Because it’s not street facing and the signage is not lit. I’ll mention the other reason later.) Entering, there is one customer eating a small pepperoni and a group of three watching TV from a booth next to the counter. Small space looks like 1000 sq/f. An older woman stands up to meet me at the counter. The two young men watch. I ask for a menu to take home. Responding to my next question she proudly tells me they’ve been in business 28 years. She says something to the two boys in a foreign language as I leave.

The menu solves the I can’t believe this store is right under my nose mystery. In bold type there are three phrases that blow me away: 1. Dine in or Carry Out, 2. Closed Sundays & 3. We accept cash or personal checks only. Wow.

This has been my neighborhood for 8 years. We occasionally get door-hangers from a PJ’s that refuses delivery 50% of the time I attempt to order. Nothing else. The neighborhood seems to be right on the edge of the radius for a few stores. (Google maps confirms this.) There are two neighborhoods that border the store. One is a community of older townhouses filled with young upwardly mobile couples & singles. Average home price is 500k. The other is standalone homes with professional families. Home here are 700k+. Adjoining neighborhoods have a similar demographic.

The strip is anchored by a CVS(drugstore). Besides the Allstate agent there is an ice cream shop, Chinese carryout and a retail bakery. The scoop shop has lines in the summer. Within .5 mile there are: 3 bank branches, Lexus, Cadillac & Smart Car dealership, large parochial school and church and another strip. The other strip is on the other side of two busy intersections. The other strip has two national grocery stores, Starbucks, ChickenOut, Post Office and assorted small businesses. There is a sit down Italian/Greek restaurant that does good business. Also no delivery. There also a large high school .75 mile away, 2100 students.

Tax records show the space is owned by a couple with Greek names. Has been since 1985.

I see tremendous opportunity here. Thoughts? Experiences?

Your post subject line seems to be directed at the current owners. You’re extremely unlikely to find the current owners reading this forum, and if you’re interested in becoming their replacement or competition you don’t want them reading this forum and learning how to make their business prosper.

A more appropriate subject line would be something like…

“Golden Opportunity?” or “Should I make an offer?” or

“How do I evaluate whether I want to offer?”

Of course, if you’ve read posts here for very long you would know there are many posts relating to valuing a pizza place and the problems associated with taking over a restaurant location in a space that will need to be brought up to many changed codes that the current “grandfathered” operators don’t have to deal with. Also, there is a thread at the top of the forum titled “Sticky: PMQ’s Think Tank FAQ List.” Read some of the links there.

I am just going by personal experience because you are pretty much describing my parents mom-and pop shop before my brother-in law and I took over the business. What you may see as a tremendous opportunity by marketing, delivery, updating, etc. they have succeeded with long hours, hard work, personal customer service, and cost control…everything that you can not get from paying a high school kid minimum wage at the competition. Chances are if they have been doing this like my parents for over 28 yrs, they probably want to get out and probably have a nice chuck of change to be able to do so. I would introduce yourself and see if that is the case…warning…they probably will not be receptive at first so don’t come on strong…just leave your name & number and check back after they thought about it…if they are interested do not be suprised if their asking price is based on sales…cash flow usually means what is in the register.

PokerDealer: It is directed at the owners, and anybody else who been on either side of a buyer initiated sale. I’m especially interested to hear about the motivations that brought these transactions about. It is not the best title. :?

famouspizza: I hope you and your brother are doing well. Did your parents have a hard time “letting go”? I’m used to a restaurant schedule, last time on vacation was antsy by day 2.5. It is absolutely a challenge to be present day to day but still work on the big picture.