When Mary and David Weldy were thinking ahead to their retirement years, they knew that they wanted to leave their Chelan, WA-based gourmet housewares store, Culinary Apple, in capable hands. It turns out, said Mary Weldy, the right people were already in place.
“We’ve been planning this transition for five years, since David and I made the decision we would retire after 23-plus years in business. We were so pleased our long-time manager, JoAnne Strandberg and her husband Lars stepped forward and showed interest in purchasing the Culinary Apple,” Weldy said.
With that, the plan to take over the business was hatched. Mary and David began putting together transition guides and bringing The Strandbergs to markets, allowing them to dive into the industry as deep as possible. This gave them a head start, allowing the couple to meet other retailers that may eventually become friends and networking partners, to creating and developing relationships with vendors and reps before officially taking over the business.
And, said David Weldy, although retirement is on the mind, he and Mary are planning to make themselves as available as possible through 2020 and act as advisors and mentors to the new owners, who will be facing their first full year in business.
“Mary and I will be available as mentors to JoAnne and Lars throughout 2020, so we’re not really retiring. However, we are looking forward to a more relaxed daily routine, focusing on our home and doing even more traveling, hiking and biking together. We’ll have more time to be involved with our church and community, too,” he said.
JoAnne Strandberg explained that not only is she grateful the couple is planning to stay on to help her and Lars tackle all of the new things that come their way, but she said it will also help make for an easier transition to the store’s customer base as well.
“I can’t think of a better and more seamless way to transition into ownership than to have their continued guidance as we become owners. While we will put our stamp on the business, we know what works. We will continue to offer our customers an experience when they walk through our door – it’s what our customers have come to expect, and we know that will keep them coming back,” she said.