A Business for Sale update

We first ran The American Dream: Business For Sale in November 1990. The company featured was a San Francisco restaurant/pub with an asking price of $750,000. Though the restaurant received 100 queries, it eventually was pulled off the market. That was true of about a third of the 61 companies featured through November 1995. One of those, a Wyoming dude ranch, received more than 500 queries, a record for the American Dream. Asking prices of companies pulled off the market ranged from $110,000 for a Michigan airplane brokerage to $5 million for a North Carolina golf resort.

Just over a third of the companies we featured were sold. (See chart, below.) The Nevada casino was on the market for the shortest length of time: two months. Thirteen of the 23 companies sold were on the market for a year or more. The only company that sold for its asking price, $40,000, was the Wisconsin chocolate shop.

Sales are pending for 2 of the American Dream companies; 4 are out of business.

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Twelve, listed below with the dates they appeared in the magazine, are still for sale.

Vermont Country Inn (January 1991)

Idaho Up-Country Ranch (June 1991)

Family-run Child-care Center (September 1991)

South Carolina Miniature Golf Course (May 1993)

Southern Short-line Railroad (January 1994)

Maine Homemade-Ice-cream Parlor (September 1994)

750-acre Theme Park (November 1994)

Nebraska Christmas-tree Farm (December 1994)

New England Country Store (May 1995)

Utah Natural- and Gourmet-foods Market and Cafe (July 1995)

Massachusetts Garden Center (October 1995)

California Architecture Firm (November 1995)

Company (issue it was featured in) Asking price Selling price Real estate included? Asking price as a multiple of earnings Asking price as a % of sales # of inquiries How long on the market
California Vineyard/Winery (April 1991) $5.9 mil. $4 mil. Yes 3.0 137% 25-30 1.5 yrs.
Seattle Bookstore (August 1991) $62,000 $8,500 [a] No 8.8 62% 50 1.5 yrs.
Maine Model-Ship Maker (October 1991) $365,000 $331,000 No 5.0 129% 200+ 5-6 mos.
Arizona AM-Radio Station (November 1991) $650,000 Unknown Yes 7.7 192% 50 2-3 yrs.
New Hampshire Country Store (December 1991) $325,000 [b] $345,000 c Yes 6.5 79% 30 1 year
Minor-League Baseball Franchise (January 1992) $3 mil. $2.5 mil. No Unk. 208%- 250% 60 6 mos.
Washington Ski Mountain (May 1992) Best offer Unknown Yes NA NA 6 5 mos.
Texas Drag Strip (July 1992) $500,000 Unknown Yes 3.5 161% 24 9 mos.
Vintage Idaho Movie Theater (August 1992) $135,000 $100,000 Yes 7.3 180% 12 1 year
Island Crafts Cataloger (January 1993) $150,000 $127,500 No 1.9 52% 250+ 1 year
Florida Billiards Room (March 1993) $190,000 $60,000 No 3.5 74% 100+ 6 mos.
North Carolina Motorcycle Dealership $1.1 mil. $900,000 No 3.7 41% 4 14 mos. (April 1993)
Arizona Bowling Center (June 1993) $3.6 mil. $1.3 mil. Yes 7.5 279% 15-20 9 mos.
Florida Travel Agency (July 1993) $150,000 $105,000 No 1.2 9% 15-20 2-3 mos.
New England Rowing-Equipment Manufacturer $550,000 $440,000 [d] No Unk. 65% 200 6 mos. (August 1993)
Nevada Casino (November 1993) $2.3 mil. $1.5 mil. Yes 6.4 126% 35-40 2 mos.
Midwest Record-Store Chain (December 1993) $1.5 mil. $500,000 No 3.8 41% 15+ 2 yrs.
Virginia French Bakery (February 1994) $275,000 Unknown No 3.4 122% 40 2 yrs.
Alaska Charter-Fishing Service (July 1994) $586,000 Unknown Yes 5.9 64% 12 1 year
California Diving Magazine (October 1994) $500,000 $110,000 [e] No 10.0 154% 50 2 yrs.
California Comedy Club (January 1995) $350,000 $110,000 No 3.6 48% 8 1 year
Wisconsin Chocolate Shop (February 1995) $40,000 $40,000 No 2.7 75% 200-300 8 mos.
Oklahoma Fitness Center (June 1995) $185,000 $92,500 No 172.7 382% 20 1 year

[a]for a partial stake; [b]without inventory; [c]with inventory; [d]for an 80% stake; [e]for a 51% stake

-- Compiled by Christopher Caggiano and Robina A. Gangemi

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