Fifteen Georgia Business Brokers Achieve GABB 2016 Million Dollar Club
Fifteen members of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) were named to the 2016 Million Dollar Clubs for helping to broker the sale of small-, medium-sized and large businesses in 2016.
GABB members represent owners of Georgia businesses in extremely important transactions: the sale of their business. GABB members help owners determine the asking price of their business, create marketing plans and strategies for selling their business, identify and qualify buyers, and have the knowledge and skills needed to help maintain the confidential nature of the process.
The top producer for 2016 was Matt Wochele, founder of Preferred Business Brokers, Inc.
“The current market condition for private business sales is active and strong,” said Mr. Wochele, a Certified Business Intermediary. “We are seeing more qualified buyers whether they are individuals, partnerships, strategic industry buyers or private equity they all want the opportunity to look at the deal. Money is more readily available and the banks want to participate.”
“While this may seem like a seller’s market, I would caution sellers not to take lightly one of the most important financial and life decisions they will make. We share a lot of time with sellers discussing and planning their exit strategies,” said Mr. Wochele. “If you are a business owner thinking about selling your company, I hope you will reach out to a professional with the Georgia Association of Business Brokers to help guide you through the process.”
Business brokers in the top five with multi-million dollars in sales for the year were J. Snypp, Vice President of Preferred Business Brokers, Inc.; C. David Chambless, president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc.; Bharat Raga of CBC Metro Brokers and Jeffery Merry, owner and founder of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc.
Business brokers with multi-million dollars in sales included Jon Merry, a senior business broker with the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc.; Matt Slappey, the owner of the Decatur branch of Murphy Business & Financial Corporation; Steve Josovitz, vice president of The Shumacher Group; Patrick Harkins, President of Anchor Business Advsiors, Inc., Dean Burnette, Managing Broker for Best Business Brokers based in Savannah; Eric Gagnon, the president of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com; and Mannie Maddox, a Commercial Realtor with Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers. Rounding out the Million Dollar Club are David Still, founder, designated business broker, and lead business appraiser of Capital Endeavors, Inc.; Jon Roman, business intermediary, franchise consultant and developer at Transworld Business Advisors; and Paul Cushman, founder and managing partner of Cushman & Associates, LLC.
Harkins earned the prestigious GABB Phoenix Award for having earned the Million Dollar Club designation for ten years. Snypp became a life member of the Million Dollar Club for having earned the designation for five years.
The Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) is the state’s only professional organization dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises. The GABB maintains a website that lists hundreds of businesses and franchises for sale throughout Georgia in a variety of fields, including automotive, business services, child care, cleaning, construction, electronics equipment, fitness, flooring, floral, food, gas stations, landscaping, manufacturing, medical, shipping, restaurants, retail, security, signs, and businesses related to the internet.
According to Greg DeFoor, GABB’s President in 2015 and 2016, selling a business is a complex process with multiple steps and a lot of moving pieces.
“We are the go-to organization for business sales and acquisitions as a result of our dedication to the profession and our members being among the best in the state at what we do,” said DeFoor, who owns DeFoor CPA and Business Services. “Our members have represented thousands of business owners and buyers, and we have a dedicated membership of business brokers, lenders, attorneys and other professionals to assist business buyers and sellers at every step of the process. We work behind the scenes and go mostly unnoticed, but we’re an integral part of Georgia’s business community.”
Matt Wochele CBI (Certified Business Intermediary) founded Preferred Business Brokers, Inc., in 1996 after a successful 17-year career as an investment banker. He is a life member of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers Million Dollar Club, Phoenix Award recipient and a member of the International Business Brokers Association. Under Mr. Wochele’s leadership, Preferred has represented hundreds of private business owners in the sale of their businesses. As the managing broker he has had the opportunity to guide and train a number of successful agents in the brokerage field. Having the experience in both public business sales and the private sector has been rewarding for our firm and to our clients. This dual experience has positioned Preferred to handle both the smaller main street business purchases as well as middle market acquisitions. On a personal note Matt and his wife Kathy, a professional artist, have been married for thirty four years and have five daughters, two sons in law and just recently welcomed their new granddaughter. After a brief but fun experience playing football at Bucknell University Matt continued his interest in sports as a volunteer softball coach at Northside Youth Organization. Matt is a member of the Atlanta Rowing Club and enjoys various outdoor activities.
J. SNYPP III, a former GABB Board member and a life member of the Million Dollar Club, lives in Dunwoody, grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a degree in marketing. Mr. Snypp spent more than two decades in the office furniture business before becoming a Business Broker and has been with Preferred Business Brokers, Inc. for more than 10 years. He has found success selling businesses in a variety of industries most recently selling a day care center, landscape company and distribution business. He is married and has two boys aged 13 and 18. Therefore, when he is not selling businesses he is usually coaching a football or baseball team, camping, canoeing, water skiing, scuba diving, shooting sports or involved in some other family activity.
A lifetime member of the GABB Multi-Million Dollar Club and 2014 GABB President, C. DAVID CHAMBLESS is the president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc. Last year, he earned the prestigious GABB Phoenix award for a decade of reaching the Million Dollar Club. Prior to Abraxas, he held various positions in sales, marketing, and executive roles in technology firms; as CFO for Aaron Rents as well as for private companies; and as a management consultant. Mr. Chambless has a Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech. He is a certified public accountant (inactive). He is a longtime member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). Active in community work, he has served as a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia, on the membership committee for the Atlanta chapter of Business Executives for National Security, and the Sporting Clays Tournament committee for the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Mr. Chambless is very involved in the All Saints’ Episcopal Church community. He was a fifteen-year board member of The Samaritan House of Atlanta and is on the Advisory Council of 24/7 Gateway, a homeless-services center under the auspices of the United Way of Atlanta. Mr. Chambless maintains his family’s home in historic Grant Park while his wife and 15-year-old son spend several years in Guangzhou, China, where she leads an educational joint venture for Georgia State University.
BHARAT RAGHA is with Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers in Atlanta. He works with commercial/business investors, sellers and buyers in selling retail, day care, hospitality industry, investment properties, commercial and residential real estate. He is certified by Metro Brokers in Commercial Brokerage and Business Brokerage, and is a member of the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. He formerly was the owner and president of Excel Properties in Orlando, was an investor and Partner in the Country Inn and Suite in Jackson, Tenn.; the owner of MiniStop in greater Memphis, an auditor at Best Western in Montgomery, Ala.; and has managed hotels and motels in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. A native of South Africa, Mr. Ragha has been married to “my amazing wife, Hansa, for 38 years,” and has two beautiful daughters Tejal and Shaleen. He resides in Alpharetta. He plays tennis and Racquet ball competitively and enjoys reading.
JEFFERY E. MERRY, SR., past president of the GABB, has been the GABB’s top producer numerous times, and has been a part of the Million Dollar Club since its inception in 1999. He is currently a GABB board member, and will remain on the board in 2017. Mr. Merry, owner and founder of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc. of Gainesville, is a member of the International Association of Business Brokers. For more than two decades, his firm has specialized in serving the manufacturing, distribution, veterinary and medical industries. As a business intermediary, Certified Exit Planner, and consultant, Mr. Merry has been involved in mergers and acquisitions that have ranged in acquisition price from $60,000 to more than $15 million. He is an adjunct instructor for the MBA program at North Georgia College. Mr. Merry holds a bachelor’s degree from Mercer University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Illinois Edwardsville, and a Juris Doctorate from Atlanta Law School. Mr. Merry, a resident of Dahlonega, is a licensed real estate agent in Georgia and Florida, a senior business analyst, and a member of the Exit Planning Institute. He has three children and five grandchildren, and enjoys travelling, reading and riding his motorcycle.
JON MERRY is a senior business broker with the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc. of Gainesville. Mr. Merry has a keen understanding for the buying and selling process, and is well versed in the industry handling a wide range of deal making activities for the firm and has assisted with numerous M&A transactions. In 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Mr. Merry received recognition as one of five brokers to join the Multi-Million Dollar Club for closed M&A transactions, and became a life member of the Million Dollar Club. In addition, Mr. Merry has been a Certified Machinery/Equipment Appraiser (CMEA) with the National Equipment Business Builders Institute (NEBB Institute) for more than 10 years, and became a Master CMEA this year, the only one in Georgia. A CMEA is intensively trained in the legal requirements involving the USPAP standards, as well as the methodological approach employed in establishing fair market value, orderly liquation value, and force liquation value in any market condition. Mr. Merry is owner of M&E Appraisals, Inc. of Dawsonville, Ga., and is a member of the International Business Broker Association (IBBA), the International Society of Business Analysts (ISBA), and the Georgia Lenders Quality Circle (GLQC). A native of Georgia, Mr. Merry was a professional umpire for Minor League Baseball for 11 years. He and his wife, RaeLynda and their two sons, Jacob and Joseph, live in historic Dahlonega.
GABB Lifetime Multi-Million Dollar Club Member and 2013 GABB President MATT SLAPPEY is the owner of the Decatur branch of Murphy Business & Financial Corporation. Mr. Slappey was awarded the #1 M&A Advisor for 2014, out of more than 200. Matt has a wide array of experience on transactions typically in the $1 million-$50 million range. Mr. Slappey, a native of Decatur/DeKalb County has earned the Mergers and Acquisitions Master Intermediary (M&AMI) and Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designations, and he also completed the Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business “Certified M&A Professional” program in 2015. He holds degrees in accounting, economics and business from Presbyterian College and has twelve years of experience in management for a Fortune-100 healthcare company. A 7-year active duty veteran, Mr. Slappey was a pilot and military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He is an active member of Oak Grove United Methodist Church, the IBBA and M&A Source, and the Hall County Chamber of Commerce and enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, playing music, and enjoying the great outdoors.
STEVEN JOSOVITZ is vice president of The Shumacher Group, where he heads the restaurant business brokerage division and provides commercial retail and restaurant real estate site selection, sales and lease negotiation expertise. A former restaurant owner and trained professional chef, Steven has an extensive background in restaurant and hotel management. He also offers consulting and appraisal services. He has been retained by law firms for his expert opinion to help settle disputes. Mr. Josovitz, a resident of Peachtree Corners, earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Florida International University in 1981. Mr. Josovitz is a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association, International Council of Shopping Centers, and the Retail Brokers Network.
PATRICK HARKINS, a CPA, is the President and CEO of Anchor Business Advisors of Atlanta, Georgia and presently resides in Marietta, Georgia. He graduated with a major in Accounting Magna Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame, was awarded his CPA Certificate from the University of Illinois and received his Master’s Degree in Business Administration with Distinction from DePaul University in Chicago. A former GABB president and board member, Mr. Harkins has been active in the Merger & Acquisition Field all of his working life. After working for 6 years in a large international CPA firm involved in large M&A transactions, he served as a Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for 3 different companies. Twenty years ago he started Anchor Business Advisors serving the interests of entrepreneurs in the Southeast. Patrick has served on a number of Board of Directors in both the private and charitable sectors. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Enervex, Inc., an international manufacturer and supplier of completely integrated venting solutions.
DEAN BURNETTE is the Managing Broker for Best Business Brokers based in Savannah Georgia serving the Coastal and South Georgia area. Mr. Burnette is a member of the Real Estate Commercial Alliance (RCA), a subsidiary of the Savannah Area Board of Realtors (SABOR). He served as the 2013-2014 President of the Savannah Small Business Chamber, and he is also a member of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR), International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), and sponsors the Georgia Logistics Summit. Dean has bought, sold, owned and operated businesses since 1986. Best Business Brokers specializes in Manufacturing, Technology and Logistics related business and real estate valued between $1- and $30 million.
ERIC GAGNON is the President and founder of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com. He is a past President of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers and has been named to the GABB Million Dollar Club, has received the GABB Lifetime Million Dollar Club Award and this year, earned the prestigious GABB Phoenix award for a decade of reaching these milestones. Eric has been designated an industry expert by Business Brokerage Press and is a radio personality, frequent speaker and writer. Eric co-hosts a syndicated radio show for the restaurant industry and in 2012, launched his restaurant brokerage brand, We Sell Restaurants, into a national franchise. He co-authored Appetite for Acquisition, his book on buying restaurants that was named “Best of 2012” by Small Business Book Awards. In addition to GABB, Eric is a member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) and has served as a speaker at its national meeting. He is also a member of the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF), the Southeast Franchise Forum (SEFF) and the International Franchise Association (IFA). Eric is licensed as a broker in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. He holds degrees from major universities in the United States and Canada.
MANNIE MADDOX is a Commercial Realtor with Coldwell Banker Commercial Metro Brokers (CBCMB), Atlanta. Mr. Maddox is a CBCMB Certified Business Broker and a member of the National Association of Realtors and the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors. He is an eight-year U.S. Air Force veteran and has more than 30 years of experience in Corporate Business Development and Sales in the Federal Government Marketplace while based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Mr. Maddox and his lovely wife Patricia relocated to metro Atlanta in 2004 to be near their son, Michael, and granddaughter , Hunter. He is active in his local church and connectional faith community.
GABB Lifetime Multi-Million Dollar Club Member and former GABB President DAVID R. STILL is the founder, designated business broker, and lead business appraiser of Capital Endeavors, Inc., established in 1995 and located in Lawrenceville, Ga. He is a member of the Lawrenceville City Council. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Georgia. As a Certified Business Intermediary, he specializes in the mergers and acquisitions of privately held companies with gross sales between $1 million and $50 million. Mr. Still was a co-owner and publisher of the Gwinnett Post-Tribune newspaper. Mr. Still received the GABB Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. Mr. Still is the Chairman of the Downtown Development Authority of the City of Lawrenceville and active in multiple non-profit organizations. He is married and has two grown children, one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
JON ROMAN is a business intermediary, franchise consultant and developer at Transworld Business Advisors. After 18 years of various business ownerships, including startups, established or franchised ventures and a full-time career as a commercial banker, he founded the local Transworld Business Advisors office in Dunwoody, GA. His experience includes mergers and acquisition of privately owned companies with revenues between $0 and $30 million. His team includes buyer and seller agents, franchise consultants and business evaluation specialists. Married with two children, Mr. Roman has been a Certified Commercial Investment Member for more than ten years. Transworld, nationwide, and Mr. Roman, locally, are members of the Junior Achievement organization. Transworld Business Advisors has currently 400 brokers and 100 offices worldwide.
PAUL CUSHMAN is the founder and managing partner of Cushman & Associates, LLC. He is also the CEO of CM Payroll & Business Services, founded in 2001; the founder and managing partner of Lawnscapes of Georgia, LLC, a landscaping firm; the qualifying broker for John Hunsinger Inc., a Commercial Real Estate firm, and is the General Manager of CM Properties, a property management firm. He is a disabled veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He holds a BSEE and Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he also played collegiate basketball and soccer. A former member of the GABB Board of Directors, Mr. Cushman, is also a member of the Commercial Board of Realtors, and he is a Certified Business Intermediary and a member of the IBBA. He is also a choir member at First Redeemer Church in Cumming, Ga.