It all started with an old red barn, a lawn mower and a pickup truck. That was how Booth Hemingway founded Piscataqua Landscaping in 1979 after graduating from the University of New Hampshire with degrees in Horticulture and Spanish.
For nearly forty years, Booth built the Maine based company into a market leader with a consistent focus on taking care of employees and delivering great service to a loyal customer base. When it came time to retire, he was eager to sell the business, but he also wanted to make sure it went to the right buyer, someone who would be “…honest, quality oriented and employee focused.”
Booth took a structured approach to a transaction, starting the process two years before he actually sold. He hired a business broker, and then put the company out on the national market. He considered several potential partners before being introduced to Chenmark.
“My wife and I met them at the office after hours,” recalls Booth. “We spent that first meeting really getting to know each other, asking a lot of questions and getting a sense of what the other party was looking for.”
“After the first couple of meetings, we were impressed with their approach and felt comfortable moving forward.”
It was clear to Booth that Chenmark was different. They had a vision for the future that was long term oriented, and he was very encouraged by the concern they showed for the company and its employees. Ultimately it came down to trust. “They didn’t play games,” he says. “They were up front and honest, and I had confidence in the structure they’d laid out.”
The entire transaction – from the first meeting to finalizing the sale – took just four months. “Overall, it was a very smooth process,” says Booth.
Looking back, Booth is pleased with how everything worked out. He was able to execute a successful sale of his business and is now enjoying a retirement filled with travel and plenty of time visiting his children across the US.
Reflecting on the experience, he can point to a few factors that differentiated Chenmark from other potential buyers. “It’s their professional approach,” says Booth.
“Everything from how they deal with people to how they bring everything together for a sale. It is great that so many of the key leaders continue to work at the company today.”
While it took some time, Booth is glad he waited for the right partner to deal with. “Things turned out for the better,” he says. “There was so much trust and confidence in dealing with Chenmark. Selling to them was the right decision for me.”