We had a great time chatting with business buyer, Bruce Carter, who purchased Wes Tech Irrigation in 2016 through Chinook. We had the pleasure learning about the company’s growth while touring their second location, established just last year. (Bonus – there were office dogs that we got to hang with!)
- Over the past six years, Bruce has quadrupled the company inventory
- The company and team outgrew their 5,000 sq. ft. Victoria shop and expanded to a secondary 44,000 sq. ft. warehouse/yard in Langford that houses massive amounts of inventory and plenty of customer parking – a luxury in greater Victoria
- They revamped the existing website, purchased the most strategic domain (irrigation.ca) and curated an extensive e-commerce platform (also known as warehouse 3) for selling product across the country
A little backstory:
Bruce worked as a CEO for the Chamber of Commerce where he gained invaluable knowledge and experience in business ownership for over 12 years. While nearing the end of his term, he decided his next career move would be to become a business owner for himself. Through his extensive business experience, he knew that entrepreneurship was ‘not for the faint of heart’ and that this would be a long, exhausting, rewarding, and exciting adventure that he was ready for. Bruce mentioned that in his opinion, to become a successful business owner, “you need a good tolerance of the unknown, as well as the thrill of excitement and terror of it may not work!”
Bruce spent time searching for the right business that fit his criteria: strong goodwill in the company, something where he was not the only employee, and a business that had room for growth. After searching through what felt like a million opportunities, he came across Wes Tech Irrigation for sale by Keith MacKenzie at Chinook. He had been a loyal customer of the company in the past and knew enough about irrigation that he felt it would be a good match.
(The seller, an expert in irrigation, had an immense passion for the industry which sparked the beginning of Wes Tech Irrigation. After many years of operation, the owner discovered that though his passion for the industry was strong, he preferred not to manage the other aspects of the business. It’s okay though – the story ends well!)
The previous owner stayed on as an employee, and to this day still works as a consultant for Wes Tech Irrigation. He lives remotely and completes all consulting and design work for the company. He and Bruce have an outstanding relationship. Better yet – he is able to do what he is most passionate about, and so is Bruce.
As a supplier business, much of the deal was contingent on the supplier contracts as that is a large component of the company. Without these contracts being transferrable, the business would not be able to run under new ownership. A large benefit for both the buyer and seller, was that Keith with Chinook Business Advisory had ensured that all the contracts were put in place before the public sale of Wes Tech. Chinook helped facilitate with the vendors and suppliers to ensure that when Bruce took over there would be no issues. This extra step gave Bruce peace of mind as a buyer, as he had witnessed this fall through the cracks in other cases and collapse businesses.
As we like to ask every business owner that comes through Chinook, we asked Bruce what his favourite thing about being a business owner is. His reply?
"No ties, and no board meetings."
He went on to explain that being a business owner has a lot of difficult choices, and that having the control of his own life is his favourite part. He made a career for himself where we can bring his dogs to work every day and created a fantastic work-life balance. He mentions how his team and culture was also a very important aspect of the business for him. He was able to develop an incredible group of employees, create a positive culture, help a co-op student become a branch manager, and grow the company from its humble beginnings of 4 staff to 17. He finishes by saying, “your soul is more important than your pocketbook. Be a part of a team you love” which should always include dogs.
CHINOOK BUSINESS ADVISORY | MAY 2022