Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Charlotte small businesses keep changing hands at record levels

Dina Beam, regional director of Pet Paradise,
plays with dogs checked into the resort. Pet Paradise 
bought Bed & Biscuits in Lake Norman last August from 
original owners Susan and Dennis Meadows.
What do a coffee shop in uptown Charlotte, a Mecklenburg County motorcycle repair shop and a York County liquor store have in common?

None of them have their original owners anymore.

In fact, they were among the 13 Charlotte-area private businesses sold during the fourth quarter of 2014, bringing the number of Queen City enterprises to change hands last year to at least 67, according to numbers released Wednesday by, an online marketplace for small-business sales.

That's the highest number of sales recorded for any year since BizBuySell started keeping records in 2007.

The Observer wrote about small-business owners selling their enterprises earlier this month, when it seemed likely the Charlotte-area would outpace its previous record.

Third-quarter numbers for 2014 showed that at least 54 private businesses had been sold -- a 42-percent hike from the same period a year earlier.

The last time numbers were that high was in 2008 when 52 small businesses had been sold. The numbers started to dip in subsequent years, but picked up again in 2013 with 47 private business sales.

In the backdrop of the Queen City's small business deals is a spate of national merger and acquisition activity, which also reached record highs in 2014.

Nationwide, at least 7,494 small businesses were sold last year, a 6-percent increase from 7,056 in 2013, BizBuySell reported.

Experts attribute the surge to favorable interest rates, cheaper borrowing options and increasing confidence in a recovering economy.

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Here are some other highlights about the Charlotte-area this year:
  • Some of the businesses sold in Q4 were: a York Co. liquor store that sold for $150,000; a Cabarrus County child care center that sold for $1 million; and the uptown coffee shop, which sold for $237,500. 
  • The median asking price for businesses in Charlotte is $250,000. At the same time in 2013, the asking price was $226,000.
  • Businesses listed for-sale in Q4 generated median revenues of $500,000. In 2013, they generated $402,667.