Financial summary brief description of a New Hampshire country store.
The Business What we have here is a living, working National Historic Landmark: the oldest continuously operating general store in the United States. Locals and tourists (they make up 35% and 55% of sales, respectively; mail order accounts for the rest) both have flocked here for generations to find traditional Yankee staples such as baked goods, work gloves, smoked meats, and lively discussion. Or maybe to find the obligatory covered bridge (three of them, actually) nearby. Ideal for a mom and pop looking to play store.
Outlook Supermarkets and convenience stores have rendered most general stores obsolete, but they keep proving viable on New England backwoods byways. And though this store's margins won't make you a millionaire -- its 12% net is right around the industry norm -- its revenue stream seems stable. Standing arrangements with tour-bus operators help, and whether because of cheese bricks, maple-sugar candies, or effulgent autumn leaves, northern New England's appeal appears to be both timeless and recession-proof.
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Price Rationale There are no general pricing multiples for businesses like this one because, industry insiders say, there are no general general stores. Still, the likely debt load makes this price look high. Even if you've got the $95,000 the seller wants as a down payment, financing the balance could cost $30,000 a year in interest alone -- and that's more than 50% of cash flow.
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Pros "Free" room and board. No commute. Potential for increased mail-order business through expansion of mailing list. And the chance to live inside a Norman Rockwell painting.
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Cons Antiquated charm and cracker-barrel flavor don't often lead to high-margin inventory -- or to short hours. The store runs seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and longer in hunting season; unlike the people in the aforementioned painting, the owners of this place will be tough to catch standing still. -- Alessandra Bianchi
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Inc. has no stake in the sale of the business featured. The magazine cannot confirm the accuracy of financial or other information offered by the seller. Inquiries should be directed to Country Business Inc., 802-254-4504.