Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Going, Going, Gone

Last Thursday we sold our composting company. Jim and I started ORMI 20 years ago, following the ban on yard waste in Missouri. We saw a business opportunity as waste haulers, landscape contractors and homeowners would need a place to dispose of their yard waste. I was pregnant with Katie at the time. For a while Jim was the only employee, working out of a shop trailer. I continued to work full time at MOMEDICO and did administrative duties at night and on the weekends. We added a couple of employees and eventually built a nice building on the site.

Time passed and we added equipment and additional employees, and Jim built a thriving landscape architecture business. I resigned from MOMEDICO when Katie entered 1st grade, and set up my office out of our home to handle the administrative side of ORMI. We had grown to 9 employees, multiple semi trucks and trailers in addition to the tub grinder and screens, and created a nice market for compost, mulch and soil.

But things have changed in this industry. Our state legislature nearly overturned the ban on yard waste last year, which would devastate small composters like us. The down-turn in housing starts means less land clearing waste coming into facilities such as ours. We were concerned about having enough material to supply our customers come the spring. And we are about due to replace the tub grinder, which go for around $750,000. Not good for cash flow.

So when we were approached by our main competitor in October about a possible buy out, our ears were open. We signed a letter of intent so that they could look further at our organization, and then they completed their due diligence. Negotiations were made regarding terms and conditions, and we closed the deal on December 30th. Two months from start to finish. Wow!

Yesterday Jim met with our employees to tell them the news, and the new owner came and introduced himself as well as some of his key staff. Our employees will all have the opportunity to keep their jobs, should they so desire. This was an important condition for Jim and me. The employees were understandably shocked, as we had given no indication we were looking to sell. Heck, we weren't really looking! But this was the right offer, at the right time, with the right company. When the guys take a step back and separate their emotions from the facts, they will realize that this new company offers them so much more opportunity than Jim and I ever could have done. Things do indeed happen for a reason, and I think this will be a good deal all around for everyone involved.

Over the weekend I packed up all the ORMI files in my office and added them to the boxes in the basement (some 20 in all), and they were picked up by the buyer. They will arrange later to get the boxes from 2005 and prior which are stored off-site. We will now take my office and return it to a bedroom once it has been painted, and take the little bedroom we just refinished and put the office in there. This will probably also motivate us to redo our master bedroom since it hasn't been done in (gasp!) 23 years. Then the whole second floor will be in keeping with the rest of the house.

As for myself, I plan to initially spend my time finishing dad's book, turning my house research book into an e-book, and doing some research on a book Jim has in mind to write (or have ghost written as the case may be).

2011- bring it on!

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

You're definitely off to a very good start! Congrats!