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PASSING THE TORCH Transferring a business the right way

Every business either closes its doors or changes hands eventually. That includes your business. We gathered stories from several companies to give you tips on selling your business or passing it down through the family.

Above: Parents Josée and Luc Bédard of Les Ateliers Bédard, and daughter Marie-Ève Bédard, who is taking up ownership of the company.

Les Ateliers Bédard Inc.

Jean Bédard opened a fashion workshop in 1945 in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. In the early 1950s he added dry cleaning services. A visionary, he included drive-thru service for customer convenience. When son Luc graduated in custom tailoring, he joined the firm, buying out his father in 1982 and running the company with his wife, Josée. A second location followed in 1990. Luc added on to the business, including an award-winning restoration service. Marie-Ève, eldest daughter of the family, joined the company in 2012. She will be the third gener- ation to own the company, and is eagerly embracing the opportunity. “There is a lot of knowledge to transfer,” she said. “The vision of how we see the business and its future, administration of the books, machine functionality and maintenance, customer service, human resources, and specific task procedures.” To best prepare, Marie-Ève applied for the Tom Kimmel Memorial Scholarship to the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute (DLI) scholarship and is our recipient for 2017. “We all want what is best for the company, but also for each other,” she said. “We have a very important thing: time.” She naturally absorbed the basic values, philosophy and vision of her par- ents. Luc and Josée expect to retire and want their company in good hands. “This is a long-time company with many years of positive feedback,” they said. “This helps to smooth the transfer.” The family has been intent on the transfer. “The time necessary to stop working and focus on knowledge transfer has to be seen as an investment,” said Marie-Ève. “It’s hard to put aside our


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