By Joe Vaccarelli/Daily Sentinel
Brian Bray believes change can be great, but it should also happen slowly.
And when Bray Real Estate took on the longtime Grand Valley business brokerage firm the Redstone Group, the real estate company did not immediately start spreading the word that it was now in the business brokerage business.
But for the past year and a half, Brian Bray, who heads up the commercial real estate division for Bray Real Estate, has led a small team that aims to help those looking to sell or buy a business in western Colorado.
Bray Real Estate’s business brokerage arm is officially part of the commercial real estate division and consists of Bray, commercial broker Kyle Serrano and former Redstone managing broker Bryan Wiman. Wiman brings 14 years of experience with Redstone and a Rolodex of contacts to the firm.
Wiman said he saw the decision to merge with Bray as mutually beneficial.
“The timing turned out to be right and I made the decision to join them,” Wiman said. “They bring a lot of bandwidth. They’ve been around a long time.”
The idea made sense, Bray felt, as he said Colorado requires a real estate license to broker business transactions. Some of the business sales often can become real estate transactions as well, Bray said, noting that if the business’s cash flow did not match the assets, it’s often more feasible to liquidate the business and sell the building and land.
Although the move has been quiet so far, Bray feels the time is right to get the word out that the real estate company with more than 70 years of roots in the Grand Valley has expanded.
Even with the lack of promotion, the business brokerage arm has been busy in its first year-plus, brokering $8.5 million in business transactions in the past 10 months, according to Wiman.
“When you team up with guys like this, it opens up a pretty big network,” Wiman said of Bray Real Estate.
Unlike selling commercial and residential real estate, selling a business is done in a much different fashion. It’s typically not advertised to the public, but is done more through networking. Wiman has been coaching Bray and Serrano on the process and in building their network.
“Typically our services are seller-related and buyers come to us,” Bray said.
Dealing with buyers and sellers is also a little different, as many looking to sell a business may have built it from the ground up but don’t know its worth or how to assess its value.
“Most buyers are sophisticated, they know the market,” Serrano said. “But a lot of sellers are uneducated so getting them up to speed is part of our job as well.”
Bray has been splitting his time between commercial real estate and business brokerage. Serrano, Bray said, was a strategic hire in that he can handle both business brokerage and commercial real estate. Wiman said he works mostly out of his home office, but could see a day where the business brokerage needs its own office.
Bray and Wiman both pointed to Redstone’s reputation of closing deals as a key for the success of the business brokerage arm. While these deals may not come as quickly as in real estate ó it’s not uncommon for a broker to work with a business for more than three years exploring a sale ó the first year has been a successful one in sales.
“We’re only listing a business if we’re confident it can sell,” Serrano said.