Hughesville-based consultants broker company sales

As a merger and acquisition master intermediary, Gary Papay has seen the comings and goings of many businesses over the years.

His own company, CK Business Consultants, Inc. works with people either looking to sell or buy a business.

“About 80 percent of our clients are on the sell side,” he said, while sitting in his office at 114 S. Railroad St., Hughesville.

Papay normally works with privately held mid-market type companies worth $1 million or more. Few people in the area do his sort of work – acting as a broker between buyers and sellers of companies. Still, his is the sort of business that can be of value to people in the market to sell or buy.

After all, just selling one’s business, Papay said, can prove a formidable task. Many business owners don’t know the first thing about selling and may not get the return they want for it. Over the years, he’s seen people sell a business for any number of reasons – retirement, work burnout, even partners who don’t get along.

Sometimes it’s older business owners looking to hand over the enterprise to a son or daughter.

But there’s no guarantee that an heir will make that successful transition.

“We see sometimes the second generation of a business isn’t as entrepreneurial,” he said.

Papay deals with dollars and cents, but he sees the emotional side of things. Many people, he said, become very close to their enterprise over time. Papay, who got into the business after spending a number of years in the corporate world, said he always wants to know from a prospective client what he or she plans on doing once they sell a company. After all, for many, the selling of a business means retirement.

“For a lot of business owners, it’s their baby,” he said.

The real rewards of what he does, Papay said, is when he can help a seller get a good buy for the business. Papay said the businesses that sell best are the profitable ones. Right now, with the economy still far from the bustling machine of the pre-2008 days, he’s not seeing the activity he’d like to see.

It goes without saying that the natural gas industry of recent years brought its share of economic prosperity to the area. The gas drilling throughout the region helped somewhat soften the effects of the 2008 economic downturn.

Unfortunately, the area gas industry sustained a bit of a slowdown during the past two years with many drilling companies heading to the western part of the state for better markets.

Papay noted that as the economy picks up steam more “high-net worth individuals” are looking to become business owners.