Surely this is ill-advised
How we accidentally bought a print shop in rural Wisconsin
We didn’t mean to buy a business.
But this opportunity was dropped so unexpectedly, so blatantly in our path, we couldn’t have possibly said no and walked around it.
How we accidentally bought a business in central Wisconsin
My partner, Stefan, and I bought our first house in February and moved from our downtown rental in the city to rural Wisconsin, where I was raised and much of my family still lives.
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Stefan had been running a design and screen printing business, and our new house happened to be down the road from a local print shop. After we moved in, he went into the business to meet the owners, talk printing and make sure his screen printing wouldn’t step on anyone’s toes (it didn’t). They talked for less than an hour.
A few months later, one of the owners called Stefan and asked if he’d be interested in buying the business.
The owners — a married couple — like many business owners in this area, had been ready to retire for a few years, but they hadn’t figured out what to do with the business. There’s not a lot of demand to buy these small businesses; younger professionals leave town for work opportunities, fewer young people are learning trades and children aren’t taking over their parents’ operations like they once did. People retire, and our rural towns lose independent businesses and the services they provide.
The idea sounded ridiculous, and maybe we spent a split second believing it was. But we both quickly felt in our bones that this was a good move.
Stefan spent more than two hours at the shop the next day discussing the deal with the owner and exploring the machines and the workings of the business. The owner was only speaking to Stefan at first, but he came home and told me, “I’d love for you to be part of this.”
No one would have told me this was a good idea
We’d already taken on a lot this year. We’d moved to a new town and become first-time homeowners. Stefan was just a year into his business, and I was figuring out how to make Healthy Rich viable. We were closer to family and becoming part of the village of occasional school pick-ups and weekend cheerleading competitions. I was writing a book.
Under no circumstances did Stefan and I think, What we need right now is a new challenge.
But sometimes the universe orchestrates your next right step so melodically, with such delightful harmony, such unexpected notes, you simply can’t ignore its call.
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