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Howard Lerner Sells Kaldi’s Coffee

Business sales can bring surprises for every type of seller, from skilled to beginner. Howard Lerner was dedicated to his St. Louis coffee roasting company, Kaldi’s. After discussing an asset sale with his potential buyer, selling stock just made more sense for the investors who were looking to start a café franchise. Lerner’s magic coffee beans were able to grow in a direction he wished the brand could sprout.


He discusses his experience with Plan for the Sale, a multimedia-learning website for business owners needing to learn more about the business sales process. Lerner went into negotiations with just the expectation of his investors helping Kaldi’s develop onto a more competitive level.


“We didn’t know what we were doing. But it keeps your passion in place, because you don’t really know that you’re in the process of selling. You’re really in the process of expanding,” says Lerner.


Choosing this route made for a less stressful transfer from seller to buyer. Since it was not a sale of assets, Lerner avoided some tax implications.


“Another thing that really impacts the stock versus asset sale was, not that there were any issues that we – not any known issues that we were concerned about, but it’s a lot cleaner to sell stock,” says Lerner.


Like every sale, his was unique and had its own important facets. He continues to work for Kaldi’s and he was a vital part of the transition of stock ownership. Part of the sale included his gradual exit from the day-to-day business operations. Over the course of 30 months, he worked less and less and helped the owners phase into the coffee industry and Kaldi’s organizational culture. His employment agreement was partnered up with a non-compete agreement.



“So for the life of the contract, I couldn’t open up a coffee house or a coffee roasting company, or assist in a coffee house orcoffeeroasting company anywhere in the nation or North America, I think it was,” says Lerner.


With his help, they eventually purchased his roastery and Kaldi’s grew from a roasting company and café to five successful storefronts across the state of Missouri.. Lerner was also then able to explore other business ventures. An entrepeneur at heart, he recently sold his flavored coffee product, InBru. His passion wasn’t there to market this newer brand, so he decided to take a similar to Kaldi’s exit.


His first InBru customer was Kaldi’s and he is happy to tell his coffee stories to Plan for the Sale and speaks to audiences across the United States. To learn more about preparing to sell a business, visit planforthesale.com. This networking and learning opportunity can assist any business builder and owner in having a uniquely successful sale like Lerner’s.

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