business brokersATLANTA, Ga., /eNewsChannels/ — Nine members of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) helped entrepreneurs buy and sell more than $40 million worth of small and medium businesses in 2012. “The Georgia market for buying and selling businesses remains strong with a large number of buyers with the financial ability to make significant purchases,” said GABB’s 2013 President Matt Slappey.

“Many business buyers today are individuals who have decided not to re-enter the work force, but are ready to control their own destiny by purchasing and operating a Georgia business. Many buyers are also current business owners who saw 2012 as an opportunity to grow their revenues through purchases of a competitor or a strategic partner.”

GABB members represent owners of Georgia businesses and help them determine the value of their business, create a marketing plan and strategy, and identify and qualify buyers while keeping the sale confidential from employees and customers.

“The association is very proud of the top producers as they demonstrate to the public the valuable services that we provide to business owners around Georgia,” said Slappey, one of the top-five brokers in sales. “We are a significant part of Georgia’s economy as we provide business owners with the opportunity to sell and protect their retirement and, at the same time, bring new entrepreneurs into the economy as business owners or financial partners.”

Topping the GABB’s 2012 Million Dollar Club is Jeff Merry, owner and founder of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc., of Gainesville. Merry was GABB’s top producer in seven previous years and has been a part of the Million Dollar Club since its inception in 1999.

Other Top-Five business brokers include Kent Reed, president of the North Atlanta office of Murphy Business & Financial Corporation; Jon Merry, an associate of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc., of Gainesville: and Matt Wochele, president of Preferred Business Brokers, Inc., and Matt Slappey, owner of the Decatur branch of Murphy Business and Financial Corporation.

Rounding out the Million Dollar Club are 2012 GABB President C. David Chambless, president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc.; Loren Marc Schmerler, President and Founder of Bottom Line Management, Inc.; Steven Josovitz, vice president of The Shumacher Group; and GABB’s 2011 President Eric Gagnon, founder of We Sell Restaurants, Inc.

The Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) is the state’s only professional organization and Multiple Listing Service dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises. The GABB maintains a web site that lists hundreds of businesses and franchises for sale throughout Georgia, as well as around the country, in a variety of fields, including animals and pets, automotive, business services, child care, cleaning, construction, schools, electronics equipment, fitness, flooring, floral, food businesses, gas stations, landscaping, manufacturing, medical, shipping, restaurants, retail, security, signs and businesses related to the internet.

GABB Million Dollar Club Member JEFFERY E. MERRY, SR., a past president of the GABB, was the GABB top producer in 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2002, and has been a part of the Million Dollar Club since its inception in 1999. Mr. Merry, owner and founder of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc., of Gainesville, is a member of the International Association of Business Brokers. For almost two decades, his firm has specialized in serving the manufacturing, distribution, veterinary and medical industries. As a Business Intermediary, Certified Exit Planner and consultant, Mr. Merry has been involved in more than 300 mergers and acquisitions that have ranged in acquisition price from $60,000 to more than $15 million. He has been an adjunct instructor for the MBA program at North Georgia College and State University. Mr. Merry holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Mercer University, a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Illinois Edwardsville, and a Juris Doctorate from Atlanta Law School. Mr. Merry, a resident of Dahlonega, is a licensed real estate agent in Georgia and Florida, a Senior Business Analyst, and a member of the Exit Planning Institute. He is married to attorney Rebecca Speir Merry, has three children, four grandchildren, and enjoys traveling, reading and riding his motorcycle.

GABB Lifetime Multi-Million Dollar Club Member and GABB President-Elect MATT SLAPPEY is the owner of the Decatur branch of Murphy Business and Financial Corporation. Mr. Slappey has been the top broker in Murphy Business & Financial Corporation of Georgia from 2008-2012. Mr. Slappey has ranked in the top 10% of the GABB each year of his membership. In 2012, he helped clients acquire or sell businesses with revenues ranging from $400,000 to more than $20 million. Mr. Slappey, a native of Decatur/DeKalb County, draws from his experiences in previous business transactions, his Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Broker Association (IBBA), degrees in Accounting, Economics and Business from Presbyterian College and 12 years of experience in management for a Fortune 100 healthcare company. A seven year active duty veteran, Mr. Slappey was a pilot and military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He is an active member of Oak Grove United Methodist Church and enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, playing in a band, and enjoying the great outdoors.

MATT WOCHELE CBI founded Preferred Business Brokers, Inc., in 1996 after a 17-year career as an investment banker. He is a life member of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers Million Dollar Club and a member of the International Business Brokers Association. Under Mr. Wochele’s leadership, Preferred has represented hundreds of private business owners in the sale of their businesses. As the managing broker he has had the opportunity to guide and train a number of successful agents in the business brokerage field. Having a career in both the public business arena and now the private sector has been rewarding and certainly interesting. Mr. Wochele resides in Sandy Springs with his wife, Kathy, a professional artist. Kathy and Matt have five daughters and one son-in-law.

KENT REED, a resident of East Cobb for more than 20 years, is the owner of Murphy Business and Financial Corporation – North Atlanta. Mr. Reed, who was a member of GABB’s 2011 Million Dollar Club, holds a BSBA degree in Management and Marketing from Western Carolina University. Mr. Reed is a licensed Georgia real estate agent and has worked as a business development executive and retail marketing specialist with several Fortune 100 and smaller companies, and has owned and managed his own LLC and conducted business in multiple states. Mr. Reed is a member of the East Cobb Rotary Club and enjoys spending time with his wife, Tracey, and their 8-year-old twin boys and traveling, fishing and music.

JON MERRY of the BUSINESS HOUSE, inc., is a Certified Machinery/Equipment Appraiser (CMEA) with the National Equipment & Business Builders Institute (NEBB Institute). A CMEA is intensively trained in the legal requirements involving professional appraisal standards, as well as the methodology approach employed in establishing fair market value, orderly liquidation value, and forced liquidation value in any market condition. He has a keen understanding for the buying and selling process and has assisted our staff of Senior Brokers with numerous M&A transactions. Mr. Merry was a professional umpire for Minor League Baseball for 11 years. Jon is well versed in the industry and handles a wide range of deal making activities to help meet the needs of our clients. Jon and his wife RaeLynda have two sons, Jacob and Joseph.

LOREN MARC SCHMERLER, who qualified for GABB’s multi-million dollar club in 2012, is founder and president of Bottom Line Management, Inc. Mr. Schmerler graduated with a BSBA in Finance Summa Cum Laude from the Boston University School of Management and obtained a Masters Degree with honors from Georgia State University. He has been a business consultant for 42 years and a business broker for 26 years. Loren has the added distinction of having been the only business advice columnist for Sam’s Club in the early 1990’s and a national public speaker at Inc. conferences, BellSouth Symposiums and Staples new store openings. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). Mr. Schmerler has developed a Buyer’s Broker Program that helps a corporate executive find a suitable business and transition into entrepreneurial life. When working with sellers of businesses, Loren helps them objectively decide whether freedom or money is most important to them when they are ready to exit their companies. He resides in Roswell.

GABB Million Dollar Club Member and GABB President C. DAVID CHAMBLESS is the president of Abraxas Business Services, Inc., which focuses on businesses with revenues between $5- and $30-million in the manufacturing, distribution, healthcare, technology, and services industries. An inactive CPA, Mr. Chambless has served in sales, marketing, and executive roles in technology firms; as CFO for public and private companies; and as a management consultant. He has served or is serving in various roles in the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), including as a member of its board of directors, chair of its Leadership Council, chair of TAG-Finance, and chair of TAGFinTech. He also serves on the boards of the Grant Park Conservancy and the Southeast Atlanta Business Association. Mr. Chambless is actively involved in All Saints’ Episcopal Church. His other community investments include service on the boards of The Samaritan House of Atlanta and the Resource Opportunity Center of Atlanta, and on the Advisory Council of 24/7 Gateway, a homeless-services center. Mr. Chambless has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech. Mr. Chambless and his family live in historic Grant Park.

GABB Million Dollar Club Member STEVEN JOSOVITZ is vice president of The Shumacher Group, where he heads the restaurant business brokerage division and provides commercial retail and restaurant real estate site selection, sales and lease negotiation expertise. A former restaurant owner and trained professional chef, Steven has an extensive background in restaurant and hotel management. He also offers consulting, appraisal services and has been retained by law firms for his expert opinion to help settle disputes. Mr. Josovitz, a resident of Norcross, earned a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Florida International University in 1981. Mr. Josovitz is a member of the Georgia Restaurant Association, International Council of Shopping Centers and the Retail Brokers Network. He is Multi-Million Dollar member of the GABB’s Million Dollar Club and received the 2012 Million Dollar Club Lifetime achievement award.

GABB Million Dollar Club Member for the fifth consecutive year and 2011 GABB President ERIC GAGNON is the President of We Sell Restaurants and He has been designed an industry expert by Business Brokerage Press and is a frequent speaker and writer for the restaurant industry. Mr. Gagnon established the nation’s first franchise restaurant brokerage firm with offices in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado and South Carolina. Mr. Gagnon is the co-author of “Appetite for Acquisition,” a book on restaurant brokerage published last year and named “Best of 2012” by Small Business Book Awards. Eric is a long term board member of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers and Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Club. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA), Business Brokers of Florida (BBF) and the International Franchise Association (IFA). Eric is licensed as a Broker in both Georgia and Florida. He holds degrees from major universities in both the United States and Canada.

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