A Once in a Lifetime Business Transaction

We had an opportunity to have a chat with James Graham, the Seller of Graham’s Jewellers, about his experience selling his historic business with Chinook Business Advisory.

The Graham’s Jewellers store has been a staple in the community for over 109 years and has been under Graham family ownership for over 50. James’ father established Graham’s Jewellers in the 1970s because of his previous experience as a watchmaker in the 1950s. The store quickly grew of interest and built a reputation in the community. When his parents were nearing retirement, James went on to purchase the business in 1988 and has run it for the past 34 years. 

James has been a hands-on owner-operator from the time he took over the business until it was sold. As he watched his father grow the business, he wanted to ensure that the reputation remained strong. James said that his favourite part of owning the business was “working day-to-day with people experiencing happy occasions such as engagements, marriages, and anniversaries.” Helping customers during one of the most important parts of their lives is a foundational aspect of the company that has continued since its establishment. 

After 34 years of successful business, James decided “it was just time to back away and let someone else go ahead with it,” prompting the sale of the business. He was very close to foreclosing the business, as he listed it with another company but didn’t come up with much interest. This would entail selling the inventory at a significant discount and the name of their historic brand would have disappeared. With little else on the horizon for the company, he found Ramon Ramirez’s name and after a few short meetings, Graham’s was listed with Chinook Business Advisory.

Selling a business with a high amount of inventory is always challenging, especially when that inventory has a large cost association. Jewellery is considered a quasi-financial instrument, so finding a financing partner becomes an issue also. Ramon worked diligently with the different parties, understanding and facilitating the extra due diligence that the bank required. This was crucial in the structuring and success of this deal. 

Finding an interested Buyer was not a problem for Ramon, but rather finding the right Buyer. This transaction truly felt like a match made in heaven. The Buyer was previously interested in purchasing or opening a jewellery store in the Courtenay area but did not want to compete with the historic Graham Jewellers. When Graham’s was listed for sale under a blind title, the Buyers quickly became interested in the prospect of purchasing a jewellery store. Come to find out it was Graham’s, there was no question as to if they were going to put an offer in. Shortly after, the deal was closed and there was a new owner of Graham’s Jewellers who did not bear the same last name.

What is James up to now?

Since selling, James says “it’s been like we’ve been on a holiday,” as his wife was able to retire simultaneously. Knowing that the business is now in the hands of someone who will continue its legacy in the community, James plans to take a vacation and spend more time with his family. 


Thinking of selling your business? Speak to one of our experienced Intermediaries here! 

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