A Network reader, approaching retirement with no one to take over, must sell a family business. But he's looking for more than a buyer -- he wants someone who'll carry on a tradition. Other letters concern bonding independent contractors and meeting like-minded entrepreneurs.

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We Are Family

For 80 years my family has operated a specialty store. My wife and I are approaching retirement, and there is no one coming along to take over the business. We'd like to find a buyer who will preserve the quality and character of our store. We thought of listing the store in the business-opportunities section of newspapers and magazines, but most ads there are for franchises and get-rich-quick schemes. And we're not interested in employing a broker. How can we find the right buyer, someone who will really care about our business?

Louis Lorenz

Company name and

address withheld

Safe Pets

Our business is minding houses and pets. Until now my husband and I have handled almost all the work, but we'll need extra hands soon. The problem is that our clients will want our employees to be bonded. If we hire them as employees, we can bond them inexpensively. But that means maintaining all the paperwork for workers' compensation, social security, disability insurance, and so on. We'd rather hire people as independent contractors. But then they will have to be bonded individually. That would be too expensive. Can Network readers offer any advice?

Carolyn Moskowitz


Personal Service Associates

Rochester, N.Y.

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

I want to join a few entrepreneurial clubs and organizations to meet people in my industry -- not just venture capitalists, but people who share my interests. I checked the yellow pages in San Francisco, but all I found were social clubs. Does anyone know of a good Bay Area or national organization of entrepreneurs?

Alex Popov

San Francisco