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Last Update: Saturday December 16, 2017

Key Idea: Be The Continuity

When the company producing the candy Dr. Alvin Smith loved to give as gifts was  struggling, he bought it.

Key Question:

A: 

Buy a business you love -- that's what Dr. Smith did.  Every year he would place his Christmas gift order at Angell & Phelps and it always seemed as if they were nervous that they couldn't get the order ready.  In conversations with the then owner, Dr. Smith told him if he ever wanted to sell the company to call him.

Dr.Smith sensed that Angell & Phelps needed new leadership and he was right.  This should serve as inspiration to anyone who might want to buy a business from a baby boomer.  They are getting older and maybe tired of the pressures they face running their businesses.

Buying an existing business is a great way to become an owner or to expand your current operations.  Often owners will let you make a down payment then make monthly payments out of cash flow which means you can probably afford to get into business this way.  You will be surprised how open owners can be if you have true enthusiasm for keeping their business alive and vital.

Think about it

What business in town do love buying from?  Is there a product you enjoy that is difficult for you to obtain?  Could you save a struggling local business by buying it?  Could you keep a local icon vital by buying it?

Clip from: Angell & Phelps

Daytona Beach, Florida: As a boy, Dr. Alvin Smith would go into the local chocolate shop, Angell & Phelps, just to smell the candy -- he couldn't afford to buy any.  
 
That all changed in 1983; Dr. Smith bought the company. 
 
While he continues to practice medicine as a cancer specialist, his son Al, runs Angell & Phelps day-to-day. They have expanded from one location to four and do extensive mail-order.

Dr. Alvin Smith said, "This is potentially a business that could be grown a lot more. But you'd have to put preservatives in the candy. Once you put preservatives in the candy, it will destroy the quality of the candy; it will change its taste."

Each piece of candy is a little piece of artwork created by hand and made from recipes that haven't changed since 1925. 
 
Even though they have grown the business, this small business has a key philosophy to stay small. The drive to get bigger and bigger is not a goal of all business owners; and that focus -- to stay reasonably small, especially given the dynamics within our global economy, may be quite wise.

Angell & Phelps

Al Smith, Owner

154 South Beach Street
Toll Free: 1-800-969-2634
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
386-252-6531

Visit our web site: http://www.angellandphelps.com/

Office: 386-252-6531

Business Classification:
Retail

Year Founded: 1983

Be The Continuity

HATTIE: Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant, and this is SMALL BUSINESS SCHOOL. This is not a cooking program. It's about running a business, and today we're in Daytona Beach inside the kitchen of chocolatier, Angell & Phelps. Also, Bruce Camber tells about a viewer coming out of retirement to start a business.

This is a how-to program and we think you learn best from people who are succeeding at what it is you want to do. So every week we take you inside a Master Class. If you studied music or art, you know that a Master Class is presented by a working artist, not a teacher in a traditional classroom.

There are 23 million small-business owners in this country today and each of them is unique. The more of these individuals you study, the greater your opportunity for success becomes. Here's Dr. Alvin Smith, his wife Ann, and his son Al to tell you about how they are keeping alive a Daytona Beach tradition.

(Voiceover) Yes, Angell & Phelps has been making people smile for decades. Give anybody a piece of chocolate and they feel better. They're not making chocolate, they're making chocolates--honeybees, chocolate-pecan brittle, caramels, molasses honeycomb chips, chocolate-covered almonds, cashews, Brazils, creams, and then there's fudge. Since 1925, Angell & Phelps candy has been made by hand using only the very best ingredients.

For the owner, Dr. Alvin Smith, chocolate is much more than a business.

ALVIN SMITH: First of all, when I was a boy, Angell & Phelps candy was the quality gift that the common person could give at anniversaries and things like that. It's always had a high reputation for taste and quality. These recipes have been around since 1925. And, I wanted it made the same way.

While I was growing up, we didn't have any money, so candy was a delight. It was the thing that we looked forward to having.

HATTIE: It was really special.

ALVIN: Oh, yeah. It was always special. I can even remember Christmas, what we got was peppermint candy and horehound candy. And it was looked forward to . . .even the horehound candy even though it tastes funny. It was just something that perked you up. It was something that was special for the day.

HATTIE: People smile when you give them chocolate.

ALVIN: Absolutely. And the other thing is, I'm a cancer specialist. Much of my life is not terribly happy. You can't talk about cancer all the time, so owning a business where you have some other conversational piece was attractive to me. I won't say that it was a major reason, but it certainly was attractive.

As a Christmas gift to all the hospitals, I gave candy to every ward in the hospital. And at times I had difficulty getting enough candy. You had to order it in September and I'm absent-minded so I would forget. So I spent some time with Mr. Reisinger (the past owner of Angell & Phelps), and we had some discussions over the limited candy, and I told him if he ever wanted to sell it, I would certainly like to buy it.

I'd always wanted to own a candy store.

HATTIE: Wait a minute. You've always wanted to own a candy store.

ALVIN: Yes. I love candy.

HATTIE: Let's go back for...

ALVIN: I love candy. Which I can't have. Interestingly enough, my mother, my sister and I all found out within two weeks of each other that we were diabetics. It is, of course, an inherited disease, but nobody really knew that we had it.

HATTIE: So you have to go for the sugar-free?

ALVIN: No, I eat the sugar (My patients are gonna love this).

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Dr. Smith's son Al and his wife Ann keep chocoholics supplied with the very best.

ANN SMITH:  (Voiceover)  Well, I pretty much took an active part from the very beginning. My brother helped us set up the business, part of it.

HATTIE: Do you like chocolate?

ANN: I love it.

HATTIE: You do?

ANN: Yeah. But I don't take it home.

HATTIE: You don't take it home?

ANN: No.

HATTIE: Oh, because it's too tempting.

ANN: It's too tempting. Too tempting.

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