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Old 11-25-2019, 11:59 AM
Dave Lindsay Dave Lindsay is offline
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The selling of a glassblowing business

Wondering if anyone out there has successfully sold their glassblowing business, gallery, or hotshop? Or has anyone purchased an existing business, glass gallery, or hotshop? If so how did you go about it? Where did you advertise it? Most of the studios I have heard of being sold were to employees. I have been trying to find a buyer for my gallery and hotshop for close to a year with no luck. I suspect many more studios are closing than opening. Really not trying to make money, but recoup some of our investment. Also our town not to long ago had five hotshops and it will be a great loss to the city. Any advice or experiences would be appreciated. Pete, I hope you'll leave this for awhile as I think it's worth discussion. Thanks
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:23 PM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Discussion determines the length anything sticks around for the most part.

Jon Gilmore went through this last year and his saving grace was that he owned the building. There was no interest in the studio and it went out piecemeal. That seems to be the routine now. When I close mine, I'm probably going to just mothball it for my son if he has interest. Fortunately we don't really need the money at this point. Otherwise, the good tooling sorta kinda sells which essentially wrecks the attractiveness of the place but the focus on studios has gotten very weird as ceramic kilns take over the purported market. There just aren't many larger shops left and the opportunity for marketing glass has gone to hell. For me, I simply have no customers anymore and I'm not willing to be a craft fair bedouine at 70. I have a substantial list of studios that say they're on their last crucible.

Finding someone with the cash to sell to is no easy trick in that few need a fully turnkey studio. I do wish you well but my observation is that it's a dead market. But... if you own the building, that will sell.
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Old 11-25-2019, 05:14 PM
Peter Bowles Peter Bowles is offline
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I think having great flexibility in the terms of sale is the most critical aspect of selling an ongoing concern. You say you are having no luck, I'm curious to know if you are garnering interest and not making a done deal, or just not getting interest. In a shrinking market the two are very different things.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:50 PM
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Pete VanderLaan Pete VanderLaan is offline
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Just don't finance it, nope nope nope nope....
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:26 PM
Art Freas Art Freas is offline
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I bought our shop turnkey a little under 5 years ago. Things that made me agree to buy it.
1) Financials, I had the books to look at and understand the cash flow of the business.
2) Agreement of support from the owner for a while to learn and understand the business of a shop, very different from blowing glass. Renting time isn't rebuilding holes, getting electric fixed, learning about the cycle of the business... Offering support
3) Repeat business, knowing what repeat and steady customers the shop had was a big factor in being comfortable in buying.
4) The owner did not finance and I wouldn't have done that. You need to support the new owner but be independent from them.

Note that I was a student at the shop and it was either buy the shop or the shop would have closed and I thought that would be a loss. Keep in mind that I worked at Microsoft at the time and Microsoft pay made it a lot more possible.

Hope some of this helps.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:52 PM
Dave Lindsay Dave Lindsay is offline
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Thank you Pete, Peter, and Art. We have not had much interest. No one willing to deal with. The most interest has been from an employee who would perhaps be interested if a local very accomplished glassblower would be willing to join in. That glassblower has been in the game and doesnít want the overhead and stress it can bring. He currently trades time and rents. Our business is approximately 75 percent retail. I havenít pursued wholesale since 2012, but still have some solid accounts. Just not very many. We do buy work for our gallery, all made in USA and Canada. Our little town Benicia, Ca. had five hot shops at one time. All were wholesaling and doing retail. People from all over the Bay Area have been coming to Benicia since the early 1970ís for glass. We do not own the building, and signed a new lease that has an out should we vacate early. I still love making glass after 43 years, but donít want the day to day business dealings. I sure hope the younger generations can find a way to keep what we all love alive.
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