Monday, March 17, 2008

The importance of remaining a Bunbury

Monday 18th February 2008
Had to get up very early today because we went to Bunbury to have a look at a couple of businesses and meet a Business agent that had apparently got a couple of businesses for us to view but couldn’t give us the paperwork or tell us where they are because we need to sign a Confidential Disclosure Document.
It was a long drive to Bunbury, it took nearly 3 hours to get down there and it’s only Freeway (motorway) for about half the journey but the funny thing is when you get off the Freeway and get onto the main road south, a lot of which is single lane, the speed limit jumps up by 10 Km per hour to 110 kmph.
We arrived in Bunbury and met the Agent who got us to sign the all important Confidentiality Disclosure Document before giving us details of a Business in Busselton, the next large Town down the coast and then going into great detail about how he expects to sign up this other business which he couldn’t tell us where what it was, where it was, how much it was taking, nothing, he could tell us absolutely nothing about this business but it took him about ½ hour to do it. We left him, promising to return the details of the business in Busselton within 21 days as per the Confidentiality and Disclosure Document, unless of course we were buying the business in which case we could keep it.
It was lunchtime so we had a quick walk by of the couple of businesses that we had details for in Bunbury, decided that they were not for us and went for lunch.
After lunch we headed for Busselton which is about 40 minutes past Bunbury and as soon as we drove into the Town we were thinking ‘what a lovely little town this is’ and it was, very old fashioned and quaint. We parked up and walked to the first Café that we had details for, had a cup of Coffee and while we were in there reading the local paper we came across a ½ page write up on the business by the agent that was selling it, so realising that everybody in town already new that it was for sale we decided to approach the owner to see if we could get a viewing straight away and he duly obliged. The Café was quite busy although in his best salesman’s pitch he did point out that it wouldn’t normally be this busy on a Monday and he couldn’t work out why it had been today. The Café was presentable but we had noticed that there used to be a Coles Supermarket virtually opposite and it had relocated to somewhere else in the town so presumably a fair amount of passing trade was now passing somebody else’s Café. The figures were good but we don’t feel that it is quite right and there are no toilet facilities for customers nearby which would be one of the criteria in our ideal business.
When we were still in England Ian had picked up on a Café in Busselton, The Olde Chapel Café, that he liked the look of and had contacted the Agent about it, monitoring it from afar, finding out as much as he could about it, even to the point of signing a Confidentiality Disclosure Document and faxing it back so that he could see the figures and see how it was trading. Ian was convinced that it would make a good business but about 2 weeks before we left the UK the agent said if we are interested we need to say so now because somebody had put in an offer, obviously we had to let it go because we wouldn’t be able to view it for at least 2 weeks and even then we would have to view other ones to know what we were comparing it to, but we told the agent that if it fell through he should let us know.
Well the agent has not been in touch but Ian wanted to find it anyway, Ian had seen it on the map before so it didn’t take long before we found it and it still looked as unloved as it did on the internet, it was closed so we had a look through the window and then walked into the Shopping Centre to look at it through the main door and both thought that it needed a bit of work but the fact that it was closed while every other shop in the Centre was open meant that there was obviously room for growth. By the door there were stickers on the wall saying Café for sale with a couple of phone numbers, we couldn’t understand this because the agent new that we were now in Australia and hadn’t contacted us to say it was back on the market so we decided to ring and find out. We rang the first number and got through to a firm of Solicitors who knew nothing about it so we rang the second number which was on ansaphone, the third number was answered by the Owner of the Café who said that although technically the business was still under offer she had doubts as to whether it was going to go through. We explained to her that we were only in town for the day and asked if we could have a viewing and 10 minutes later she was showing us around, we think the agent must have mentioned us in the past because she seemed to have some idea as to who we were.
The place was a bit untidy, in need of a good clean and generally in need of some TLC but there was obvious potential there and it is right opposite Coles the Supermarket. She made it perfectly clear that she did not want to be there and also that she did not particularly like the potential buyer that she was selling to at the moment, we made it clear that we may be interested in taking it further if the sale fell through so she gave us as much financial details as she had on her and also the agents number and said that she would contact the agent herself. This Café looks like it could be promising. We rang the agent who said that it was still under a period of Due Diligence at the moment and that it might fall through but that there was also a local family that were also interested so he would keep us informed.
We then went for a walk around the town and had a look at a couple of other sites but neither of them tick all the boxes although one of them, which we got from the agent in Bunbury is in a great position but it is a Franchise and we haven’t read through the Terms and Conditions yet.
From there it was time to take a look at the seafront, we parked up in this immaculate tree-lined car park right by the waters edge and took a stroll to the beach we are right by the Jetty (probably the most famous part of Busselton) and we have fallen in love with this town, everything this afternoon that we have seen with regard to the layout of the town, the ambience, the Jetty and parkland close to the beach, the free parking, the cleanliness it has all gone towards convincing us that this is where we should be. Obviously there is a lot more to a town than this so before we came home we drove down as many residential streets as we could find looking at the quality of the housing in the area and we looked in quite a few Realty Agents windows and could see that we could afford property down there although by this time the agents were all closed so we couldn’t pick up any details. Carolyn will go on line and check out Schools tomorrow because we know that there are at least a couple of businesses out there that might fit the bill.
With that it was time to drive home, we drove to Bunbury and it was getting close to 9pm, now bearing in mind that it is virtually impossible to get any food over here after 9pm we thought it might be prudent to grab a take-away and also it might shut the kids up. We stopped at a Chicken Treat (a bit like KFC) and we were the third from last people to get served, talk about cutting it fine.
We unwrap all the food so that the kids can see what they are doing and then set off; the kids soon finish eating and nod off and we were just driving along pitch black country roads, relatively straight but without catching up with or being over taken by a single vehicle we supposed that everybody else must have been keeping to the same speed limits as Ian. We got home close to midnight absolutely shattered but glad that we have still got the courtesy car because we are certainly clocking up some mileage, sorry kilometerage in it and at this rate if we were using our own car we would be needing to service it every month, it might drive like a dog but it is doing us a favour at the moment.

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