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from Haddon Equipment & Supplies because we had qual- ity issues from outsourcing our linen cleaning,” Dan said. “We launder up to 2,000 table cloths in 32 colours per week- end, as well as 10,000 nap- kins, using Continental Girbau equipment. We love it!” It took two years to transfer to Dan and Malcolm. “There were many conversations and visits with our lawyer and accountant to be sure it was handled properly,” said Dan. “Everything went right in the transfer.” This was a relief, as Tom Sebal had worked for a company where the family transition was tragic and led to the downfall of the company. He wanted to be sure A&B kept its core values, yet made way for the future.

“We have maintained a steady growth and have not changed a single system in the company,” Dan said. “There is no need to fix what is not broken.”


“Have a great third party involved, like a lawyer both part ies

trust . Open com-

munication on both sides is vital. Understand what made the company a success and don’t deviate. Build on your strengths,” said Dan.

Harold Snow Service Group/ Atlantic Laundry Equipment

Harold Snow & Sons was established in 1943, and passed from father Harold to son Geoff over time. When Geoff retired, he sold to Trevor Melendy, a customer of the company, in 2010. Well known across Newfoundland & Labrador as ‘Harold Snow’, the company is said to be Atlantic Canada’s largest commercial food and laundry sales, parts and service provider. In 2014, the laundry branch was established as a separate brand, Atlantic Laun- dry Equipment. Buying a business from someone unrelated to the buyer is different than taking control of a family business from an older generation. “A significant amount of due dili- gence was completed, working most importantly with law- yers and an accounting firm,” Melendy said. He also checked with suppliers and custom- ers on their relationships with the company, completed in-depth research to see where the industry was headed, and areas of potential growth and improvement.

“The transfer was really Malcolm and Dan Sebal of A&B Party Event Rentals.

Above: Atlantic Laundry Equipment team Right: Trevor Melendy.

smooth,” he said. “The pre- vious owner was not required to stay on during the pro- cess.” The primary area where change occurred was in human resources. “Some employees were more accepting of change than others. So, over the course of the first year, there were some changes in staffing. The changes were necessary in order to improve and grow the business,” Melendy said.

Other changes have followed. • Improved financial reporting and complete SWOT analy- sis.

• Technology improvements (the company was paper- based prior to 2010) includ- ing accounting, invoicing, social media presence, web- site, etc.

• Proactive growth, rather than passive. “We identified the need for representation of a commercial laundry equipment manufacturer in order to grow.” They are the exclusive distributor for Continental Girbau and LG laundry equipment through- out the Atlantic provinces.

• Establishment of a Halifax Atlantic Laundry branch, in addition to the St. John’s NL branch.

• Hired an outside sales man- ager, attend trade shows,


Companies are as different as families, and so is each transfer of business. Despite the differences in history and company structure, there are clearly points of commonality that made all these transfers successful. Begin today to plan for the eventual transfer of your company, and it will run a lot smoother when the time comes. n


joined industry organiza- tions.

• Proactive sales by signing up customers for automatic ordering of disposable sup- plies.

• Acquired an ACOA grant in 2013 to become ISO9001.2008 Registered, which happened in 2015.

• Added chemicals and sys- tem sales for both food and laundry equipment.


“It is vital to have experienced legal and accounting repre- sentation that has in-depth knowledge of mergers and acquisitions. Do your due dili- gence. Once the transaction is completed, the strength of the business comes down to the people working with the com- pany. Without great people, you can’t grow your business,” said Melendy.

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