The Business This rustic market on the shores of a secluded mountain lake has sold sundries, groceries, and baked goods to the area's 1,200 residents for most of the past 25 years. In summertime, when the population waxes some 300%, vacationers dock their boats for refueling and buy pizza, subs, and ice cream to eat at outdoor picnic tables. The fall-foliage and the snowy seasons add hunters, ice fishermen, and snowmobilers to the ranks of the regular year-round customers. The owner is selling the turnkey retail operation along with an adjacent, recently remodeled house. Set to retire, the owner's looking forward to an extended vacation.

Financial Summary 1992 1993 1994
Gross revenues $211,629 $200,276 $172,011
Recast earnings before depreciation, interest, taxes, and owner compensation $10,095 $15,396 $7,377

Price $349,000 plus inventory (seller's holding a small second mortgage is possible)

OutlookConvenience stores have thrived for 20 years, rendering many backwoods mom-and-pop businesses functionally obsolete, but it's been smooth sailing for those shops that fill a niche. There are no supermarkets or convenience stores in this lakeside community of country roads, and there are no other grocery stores or year-round waterfront gas pumps on the lake. Lately, the store has been skating on thin ice -- decreasing revenues are not inexplicable, though, given the fishy regional economy. The situation seems sunnier now as new businesses crop up.

Price Rationale The industry's viability benchmark is $250,000 in revenues, and experts say the asking price -- determined more or less by totaling the value of the house, store, and equipment and inventory -- is a summer's dream. Using income as a guideline for the package, a better price should have been calculated at $105,000. When you consider that the owner has not drawn a salary, it's scant compensation that business receipts cover some living expenses.

Pros The pastoral beauty of the New England woods. Changing seasons. Those reliable summertime visitors.

Cons Mosquitoes. Dawn-till-dark seasonal work. Long, cold winters. Those disruptive summertime visitors.

-- Robina A. Gangemi

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 P.O. Box 2706, John W. McCormack Post Office, Boston MA, 02208. n