The following 'success story' was submitted to OrilliaMatters by the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation.
In 2010, John and Laurie Thompson bought Chelsea Chocolates, located at 3239 Penetanguishene Rd. in Craighurst, Oro-Medonte.
Becoming small business owners was a steep learning curve for the couple, but one filled with excitement and joy as they expanded and improved Chelsea Chocolates over the years.
“We had a wonderful adventure in owning and growing the business,” enthuses Laurie.
Early on in their adventure, the couple became familiar with the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) through the Oro-Medonte Chamber of Commerce and working on many community improvement projects in their area, of which the CDC was a part.
So, it was only natural, when the time came to sell the business, that John and Laurie reached out to the CDC again to inquire about how the BizLink program could help.
"We had leased the property and we owned the business," Laurie explained. "Our landlords wanted to sell the property, and at the same time, we were ready to prioritize our family time. So, it was time to sell. The business was healthy, thriving and growing; it just needed the right someone to take it to the next level.”
John and Laurie contacted the CDC and in very little time, there were four serious potential purchasers. “Everything happened so fast,” says Laurie. “We started the process in May and sold in December. And in the middle of everything was COVID.”
The BizLink Program connects business buyers and sellers to help entrepreneurs confidently move forward in the transition process. The program, which is now offered by Community Futures offices across Simcoe County, provides businesses and entrepreneurs with anonymity and wrap-around support from inception through transition and beyond.
John and Laurie say they don’t know where they would be without the help of the Orillia Area CDC.
“We are so grateful to the CDC for showing us how to sell our business. They offered the resources, showed us the different selling options, and answered our many questions,” Laurie explains.
“They helped to match us to potential buyers in their program. They were very professional and made us feel very much at ease with this big decision.”
John and Laurie are enjoying their new life, despite the restrictions of COVID-19.
“We have been so fortunate to have found, not just a purchaser for Chelsea Chocolates, but we found someone special, who will take our hard work to the next level," said Laurie. "They are local, they have the same passion as we did, and they are good people - exactly what we were looking for.”
Thanks to the BizLink Program, everything turned out deliciously for John and Laurie, and for the proud new owners of Chelsea Chocolates.
For more information about Chelsea Chocolates visit https://chelseachocolates.com/ or call 705-725-9210.
For more information on the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) or the BizLink Program visit www.orilliacdc.com or contact 705-325-4903 x 10.