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5 Steps to Successfully Sell a Grocery Store

Posted On: / By: Brian Knoderer
Selling A Business

The food business is competitive, and grocery store ownership is no exception. If you’re considering exiting, then you’ll want to take care to set your small business up for success! Find out how to make your assets attractive to prospective buyers by following these steps to sell a grocery store in optimal time.

How to Sell Your Supermarket or Grocery Store

Since grocers remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 656 billion dollar industry was relatively unaffected. Whether retirement is on the horizon or you’re ready to move onto a new venture, it may be the right time to list your grocery store for sale. Get actionable tips to position your business for a streamlined sale below.

1. Prepare for a Smooth Exitproduce in a grocery store for sale

Before you start organizing documents or contacting buyers, it’s crucial to detail an exit strategy that outlines how you will leave the business. Potential business owners will want a clear picture of how the company will function in your absence. Consider the following questions as you begin to plan.

  • How soon will you exit the business? Are you able to stay on and help ease the transition, or do your plans necessitate a swift exit?
  • Will your current employees remain after the sale? If so, are your managers comfortable running the store without your direct instruction? Do you need to draw up any paperwork to protect their positions?
  • How do you anticipate distributors will react to your exit? Is there anything that you can do to improve those relationships for the new buyer?
  • How will the transfer of ownership occur?

Answering these questions will help you understand potential issues throughout the sale that could otherwise complicate, or worse, terminate your business transaction.

2. Get Your Financials in Order

Next, you’ll want to get all of your important documents in order. Interested parties will want to view financial statements, business records, contracts with suppliers, and more so that they have a clear picture of your pricing plans, gross margins, and profitability. Working with a professional accountant or lawyer can help you ensure everything is properly organized.

3. Receive a Professional Valuation

With a clear picture of your financials in hand, you can begin to better understand what your business is worth. You’ve worked hard to build your business, and it’s normal to have an emotional attachment to it. However, this can sometimes cloud your judgment and impact your idea of a fair asking price.

When it comes to business valuations, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Not only does this help you land on a fair asking price, but it also ensures that your positioning within the industry is adequately assessed. Working with a business broker will help you pinpoint any challenges with big competitors like Whole Foods or Walmart and even make a plan to improve before listing your business for sale.

4. Address Any Issues

Taking the time to clean up and showcase your grocery store’s best sides can help make it more appealing to potential buyers. You can make physical updates such as cleaning up the front entrance, organizing and ensuring store shelves are well stocked, and fixing any imperfections that you’ve been holding off on.

Now is not the time to let day-to-day operations slip. Instead, work to build loyalty with your existing demographics and even attract new customers. Consider if any of the following improvements are plausible for your model:

  • Offer new products in your deli section
  • Appeal to the health-conscious with more organic foods
  • Network with farmer’s market participants to offer local food products
  • Address any perishables that aren’t turning over fast enough to maintain profitable shelf space
  • Improve your social media presence
  • Offer delivery service or pickup options
  • Add on impulse purchase items like magazines or batteries at checkout

5. List the Business for Sale

Finally, it’s time to list your business for sale. While you can put up an online listing yourself, it pays to work with a professional. Enlisting the services of a business broker helps you avoid common missteps while maintaining confidentiality. Plus, you can stay focused on keeping your local grocery store in prime condition while your broker moves you towards a successful sale.

If you’re ready to take the next step and list your grocery store for sale, consider reaching out to Sunbelt Business Brokers. Our network of brokers can help you connect with qualified buyers more quickly for the best possible price. Get in touch with a Sunbelt office near you to get started!


Brian Knoderer is the President of Sunbelt Business Brokers. He has over 20 years of experience as a business owner and managing business transactions. As a seasoned intermediary, Brian has successfully represented companies in a broad range of industries helping business owners achieve their desired exit strategy or growth initiative.

Brian is also co-owner of Sunbelt Indiana and Managing Director of MMI Capital Partners, a franchisor focused investment banking firm.

Previously Brian was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures as well as having held corporate roles in Franchise Development for Prime Hospitality and Choice Hotels.

Brian is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Management Information Systems and earned his MBA from Butler University. He has received the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) designation, holds both the Series 7 – General Security License and the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Licenses, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker. He has been affiliated with several organizations including the Entrepreneur Organization, a Member of the International Business Brokers Association, Venture Club, and a Board Member of The Entrepreneur Institute.

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