Finding and buying a business: who you know counts!

New owners of the Rustico Express, Laval

Michael Mastrogiovanni (left) tempts with tiramisu, one of the new items he and Pietro Lomascolo (right) have added to the menu at the Rustico Express

Finding a job often comes down to who you know. The same could be said for locating and buying a business, where a Sunbelt business broker might become your next best friend. And customer!

Such was the case for Michael Mastrogiovanni and Pietro Lomascolo, whose timely connection with Sunbelt business broker Tony Raimondo helped them find and purchase the bistro they now own in Laval, Quebec.

“We’d been looking for a few months without finding anything,” explains Pietro, a former systems analyst. “Then we saw a listing for a cafeteria, which led us to Tony’s office. He told us he had something nearby that was a better fit for our needs and suggested that the three of us check it out. A short walk around the corner and we were at the Rustico Express having coffee. It seemed to be everything we were looking for.”

Pietro and Michael came back two days later to check it out further, and confirmed that the business met their expectations.

“The business needed the right person, or in this case, persons,” says Tony, owner of Sunbelt’s office in Laval. “We always spend time with prospective buyers determining what businesses would work best for them given their skills, interests, financial resources and experience as well as their personal and financial goals. It often happens that they end up purchasing a different business than the one they came in for. It’s important that we find the one that’s the right fit.”

“In this case we were able to negotiate a decent five-year lease with the landlord and that added further security to the purchase.”

Both Michael and Pietro appreciate the assistance they received from Tony. “It was like asking a friend for help”, says Pietro. “He’d call us back on the weekend, always professional but friendly, guiding us on everything that was needed. Everything fell into place.

The Rustico Express now offers a fresh, expanded menu showcasing Italian grilled sandwiches and including soups, salads, pizzas and other ready-to-go meals. The business is open five days a week, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Savouring a warm chicken/asparagus/Dijon/brie panini and sipping an expresso, you might forget you’re in a main industrial and office centre. It’s a clientele the partners hope to engage further, by adding a terrace and offering catering services—where Michael has hands-on experience.

And for Tony, a two-minute walk to buy a great grilled sandwich is pretty sweet!

By Karen Runtz

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