Apr 27, 2022
Continuity is an underappreciated aspect of ownership transition. Ben Whitlock, president of Mobile Fixture, a kitchen and restaurant supply wholesaler based in Mobile, AL, followed that game plan to the letter when he and three partners bought out the company's longtime owner.
Jason caught up with Ben to discuss drafting a protracted transition process into the buyout deal, maintaining organization-wide confidence throughout the pandemic, and succeeding in the crowded hospitality space.
Ben and his three partners, all members of the senior leadership team since approximately 2017, entered into a sale agreement with Mobile's longtime second-generation owner Walne Donald five years ago. But rather than pushing Walne out immediately, they wrote him into their purchase agreement.
In addition to Walne staying on as majority owner, Ben and his partners were adamant about forgoing private equity. The team believed in the organization's inherent family philosophy and didn't want to tinker with it too much. That holistic approach to company culture served the organization well, especially during the pandemic. With no customers to sell to, Mobile closed its showroom and warehouses for several weeks to refresh and reorganize. That time together proved to be an excellent, if unplanned, team-building exercise.
Now that the transition switch has finally flipped, Ben and the team are ready to tackle post-pandemic challenges like supply chain issues and inflation.
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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.
This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: HMI Performance Incentives, providing innovative, data-driven B2B incentive solutions.