Michelle Simakis
KEN BLAZE

This past April, I received a call from Charbel Harb, who said he had a story to share with us that he thought could help other independent garden center owners.

After owning Harb’s Oasis with his wife, Ruth, for more than 35 years, he was ready to retire. But he didn’t have a succession plan, and his children were not interested in taking over the landscaping business and garden center, which also specializes in water gardens.

When he first decided that he wanted to sell the garden center, he didn’t know where to start, and he felt there weren’t many resources out there for him. He had worked hard and was ready to step away from running a business to spend time with his family, especially his grandchildren, but wasn’t sure where to find a buyer with the knowledge and passion it takes to run an IGC.

It wasn’t the first time I had heard from an IGC owner struggling with his or her succession plan, so perhaps Harb’s story resonates with you.

As you’ll read in our cover story, Harb discovered that he had already met qualified, enthusiastic buyers — he just hadn’t considered them before. In the article, Associate Editor Conner Howard details Harb’s story of how he successfully sold his business. He also shares tips from industry consultant John Kennedy on how retailers can transition from ownership to retirement.

We thank Harb for reaching out to us, because those conversations help us to better accomplish our mission to serve independent garden centers. If you have an idea or feedback that you think would help your colleagues in the industry, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We appreciate hearing from you and enjoy discussing your ideas, your questions, and even your complaints. Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences with us.

Michelle Simakis
msimakis@gie.net