Candy and Randy Mills opened Mills Repair Co. in Belgrade, Montana in 1980. In 2019, they decided to think about an exit strategy and plan for retirement. While Randy continued to provide quality service to keep their customers on the road, Candy began looking into what it would take to make the move into retirement.
After attending a business transition workshop in 2019, Candy began meeting with Prospera’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Regional Director Jeff Turczyn in 2021. Candy and Turczyn discussed every available option, including family succession, selling the business and property together, and leasing or selling the property separately.
Candy found support when discussing the short- and long-term effects of their choices with Turczyn. “We reviewed the status of our exit path, and Jeff followed up with specific guidance with what to expect and how to be sufficiently prepared for each stage. He was my sanity point. He validated and affirmed and encouraged, as well as helped weave everything together into something cohesive.” said Candy.
“Candy used the SBCD and Prospera to give her guidance when making decisions about an exit strategy,” said Turczyn. “Together, we investigated different options to make the best decision for their business. During our monthly meetings, we would check in, and I would offer her resources and perspective.”
Ultimately, the Millses decided to close their long-standing business and sell the property, and Turczyn was there to guide Candy through the final phase. “There was grief associated with closing the business, and I was completely unprepared for it. Jeff was there to talk to me about the reality of entrepreneurs experiencing grief when separating from their businesses. But I had no regrets, and that made the separation easier.”
When it comes to business success, not all stories look the same. “With Prospera’s help, we were able to make an orderly exit from our 42-year-old business,” said Candy. “When we started, there wasn’t a Prospera. I think it’s fabulous that it exists to help people with the huge learning curve of starting your own business, as well as the important process of an orderly exit.”