Beer Distributor Gets New Owner: Williamsburg Beverage

Tracy Colbert had always dreamed of owning her own business ever since working for a small local beer distributor while attending college. Little did she realize that the beer distributor where she was employed would some day be up for sale.

As a college student working at her hometown Williamsburg Beverage, she not only waited on the customers, but managed the inventory, did the ordering, etc. During her time there, the business was sold. Tracy completed her education and became the technology director for a local school district. This gave her experience in various types of technology, preparing annual budgets, maintaining equipment and providing service to staff and customers. All of these experiences have readied her for the eventual undertaking of some day owning her own business.

As a lifelong resident of Williamsburg, she always had some type of contact with the distributor mainly as a customer. She would often speak with the new owner about the business, how things were going, who are the customers, etc. As time went on, she found out that the owner was interested in selling the business and she eventually discussed a possible purchase with him. Tracy is well know in the small town of Williamsburg and she felt with her background and experience, she would be a natural fit to take over the business. Her personal relationships, as well as her experience in marketing, planning, and experience working at the distributor years earlier, would enable her to have a successful takeover and continue this as a profitable business venture.

In April 2016, Tracy contacted the St. Francis Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to discuss purchasing Williamsburg Beverage. She had been discussing this with a loan officer at Kish Bank and the loan officer suggested she contact our office to discuss preparing a complete business plan. Her husband is a partner at a local business that had used the SBDC’s services so she was familiar with our program. After exchanging e-mails, the SBDC immediately scheduled a meeting with her to further discuss her project. The SBDC met with Tracy and her banker to discuss what would be necessary in applying for a commercial loan. She had been working on her business plan and project costs. The SBDC assisted her in completing the business plan and proformas. She was basing much of her work on the existing sales and marketing. The SBDC reviewed Tracy’s projected financial information with industry standards. We compared the information and Tracy’s projected information to industry information from Bizminer. The information was very close on many of the categories. Upon completion, Tracy presented the completed business plan to Kish Bank for financing. The SBDC assisted Tracy in completing the overall financing proposal.

The financing for the project was approved by Kish Bank and Tracy took over the business in September 2016. They approved a commercial loan for the real estate, equipment and license. Additional financing for the project was provided through the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation through their RMAP program. In addition to Tracy working full-time at the business, she also has four-part time employees. Tracy has said the business is doing well and the local residents have been very receptive to her and the new ideas and products that she has added to the business.