Ten members of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) were named to the 2015 Million Dollar Clubs for helping to broker the sale of small-, medium-sized and large businesses in 2015.
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 2015 was former GABB president Matt Slappey, the owner of the Decatur branch of Murphy Business & Financial Corporation.
“I take great pleasure in representing business owners in what is arguably the most important financial transaction in their life,” said Slappey. “I accept my assignments with a great sense of responsibility to the client and to their future. Buying and selling companies are complex transactions and my hope is that all business owners will seek qualified business brokers who are members of GABB to ensure they receive the representation they deserve.”
Business brokers in the top five with multi-million dollars in sales for the year were Steve Josovitz, vice president of The Shumacher Group; Jeffery Merry, owner and founder of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc.; Jon Merry, a senior business broker with the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc.; and Kim Romaner, president of Transworld Business Advisors of Augusta, Ga. Other multi-million dollar sellers were Eric Gagnon, the president of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com; David Still, founder, designated business broker, and lead business appraiser of Capital Endeavors, Inc., and C. David Chambless, president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc. Rounding out the Million Dollar Club are Dean Burnette, Managing Broker for Best Business Brokers based in Savannah, and Paul Cushman, founder and managing partner of Cushman & Associates, LLC.
Chambless and Gagnon earned the prestigious GABB Phoenix Award for having earned the Million Dollar Club designation for ten 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 2015 President and 2016 President-Elect, selling a business is a complicated process with multiple steps and a lot of moving pieces.
“Our broker members are licensed business brokers, whereas everyone in the industry may not be properly licensed,” said DeFoor, who owns DeFoor CPA and Business Services. “GABB members benefit from continuing education, networking, promotion of professionalism and ethics in the industry, research tools, and forms prepared by a team of attorneys specifically for our association. “
“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. Our members have represented probably over a thousand transactions, 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.”
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.
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. 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 and 2014, Mr. Merry received recognition as one of five brokers to join the Multi-Million Dollar Club for closed M&A transactions. 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.
KIM ROMANER is the president of Transworld Business Advisors of Augusta, Ga. Ms. Romaner is an alumna of Barry University in Miami, and currently lives in North Augusta, S.C., with her husband and business partner, Michael. She serves on the advisory boards of the Salvation Army and the Greater Augusta chapter of the Technology Association of Georgia, is a founding member of theClubhou.se (cq), an innovation academy in Augusta, and serves as a mentor with Startup Augusta. Ms. Romaner has two children, ages 25 and 26, and is proud that her son Zack has just started his first business, and daughter Alexis is on her way to getting her real estate license.
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.
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 was recently elected without opposition to 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.
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. This 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 14-year-old son spend several years in Guangzhou, China, where she leads an educational joint venture for Georgia State University.
DEAN BURNETTE is the Managing Broker for Best Business Brokers based in Savannah, Ga., 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.
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.