Apparently, Paul Sheridan needs lots of time to work on his golf game. Luckily, thanks to the Orillia Area CDC’s BizLink program, Sheridan will soon have lots of time to do just that.
A few years ago, with the help of the BizLink Program, Sheridan started trying to sell his business, Sheridan Seating, in earnest. “I started researching how to sell a business about five years ago,” he recollects. “There was a lot of information, and I really didn’t know how to go about it. At one point, about a year later, myself and a friend were at a chamber event and the Orillia Area CDC got up and did an elevator speech about this new program they were putting together, trying to connect business buyers and sellers with each other. We just looked at each other and said, ‘This is exactly what we’re looking for.’”
Sheridan connected with Carol Benedetti and, with her support, started the process. At the same time, Benedetti began looking into buyers who would be suitable for Sheridan’s company. “I started the business myself in 1978,” Sheridan muses. “At that point, it was called Sheridan Sales. We made mainly wrought iron railings and picnic tables. My dad joined me after a while, and we changed the name and made mostly basketball and gym equipment. Then my brother and I bought my dad out 18 years ago, and we switched the name again, to Sheridan Seating, as many of our main competitors had Seating in their names. About 85% of our customers are in the U.S., mainly high schools and gyms.”
Benedetti came up with several potential buyers for the business, and at the end of the day, just over one year ago, Paul and his brother Pat Sheridan had three serious offers for the business to mull over. “We picked the two gentlemen who ended up buying it, mainly because they are just regular people. They are going to be hands on with the business, they aren’t changing too much. No one is being laid off.” Sheridan continues, “You have to understand, we have 45 employees and a lot of them are my friends. We wanted them looked after, we wanted the business to stay in Orillia. I love Orillia.”
Sheridan also wanted his involvement after the sale to be finite, though he and his brother still own the property, and are leasing it to the new owners for the foreseeable future. “I am on contract to help run the business for six months after they took over, so, December 14, 2022, is my last day. Then, I am available by phone if they need me, for another year and a half after that. It’s good, it’s gradual. It would be too big a shock to just walk out the door. It’s my baby,” Sheridan explains.
Selling the business has been “exciting, but also pretty nerve-wracking,” says Sheridan. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Orillia Area CDC and Carol’s help. There were so many details to take care of, and we wouldn’t have been able to find the buyers that Carol lined up for us. That made the deal happen.”
Benedetti says, “It was a privilege to work with Sheridan Seating on this transition. Retaining local ownership andlocal jobs is what the BizLink program is all about. It’s a win for everyone.”
And it’s a win for Paul Sheridan’s golf game, as he takes a seat in the golf cart for this next chapter; the best seat in the house.
To learn more about Sheridan Seating, visit www.sheridanseating.com or call (705) 326-7463.
For more information on the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) visit www.orilliacdc.com or contact 705-325-4903 x 101.
*Special thanks to the project funder, The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.