Local Omaha Business, Crown Trophy, Successfully Transfers Ownership with Koley Jessen
In 2022, Robert C. Blanchard (“Bob”) sought to retire and sell his business. After 26.5 years of owning Crown Trophy, a local Omaha business that has proudly provided trophies and awards to thousands of leagues, organizations, and companies, Blanchard hoped to transfer ownership of his business to long-term employee and friend Robert L. Berry, IV (“Rob”).
Both very excited about this prospective next step in their lives and eager to move the process of a sale along without delay, Blanchard and Berry began to navigate the sale themselves by drafting their own purchase agreement.
Upon realizing the process would require the assistance of legal counsel, Koley Jessen attorneys Taylor Cammack and Griffin Wonderlich were engaged pro bono through the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and Koley Jessen's Ascent Program, which is a part of the firm's pro bono initiatives, to represent Blanchard in the sale of Crown Trophy.
The two approached the transaction with a unique, collaborative mindset. Considering Berry to be like a son to him, Blanchard wanted to look out for him, give Berry the business at a fair price, and provide a clean and simple transition.
Despite a bright outlook and positive attitude, navigating the sales process can be quite a daunting task for both first time buyers and sellers. As with any business sale, unforeseen complexities can arise, presenting their own set of challenges.
Leading Blanchard through his first M&A experience, Cammack and Wonderlich were adept at educating and explaining the number of steps and processes involved. Over the course of a few months, our team worked with Blanchard to diligently tackle the various intricacies of the deal, including financing, PPP and SBA loans, and the building lease. Ultimately, a more complete purchase agreement was negotiated and agreed to with Berry’s legal counsel to finalize the sale.
Regarding his experience working with our team, Blanchard expressed his satisfaction, stating that "Koley Jessen absolutely exceeded our expectations.” He particularly highlighted the seamless collaboration between Cammack and Wonderlich and their knowledge of the sales process, which proved invaluable in assisting him with his business transition. Blanchard also commended our team for their responsiveness and commitment throughout the process, and expressed gratitude to our support staff and Chief Operating Officer, Justin Haugen, for their assistance. According to Blanchard, “The value of the in-kind service was gratifying to receive. Without question, this project was a team effort by the firm and we couldn’t have done this without them.”
Reflecting on the transaction themselves, Cammack said, "This is one of the most rewarding deals I've worked on. At the end of the day, we were able to help Bob and Rob realize their dreams of retirement and business ownership, and for that, they both were incredibly appreciative and thankful."
Wonderlich added, “Working on this transaction was a fulfilling experience, as was getting to know Bob and the business throughout the process. You don't see a lot of pro bono M&A, so I think this was a unique opportunity to give back to the Omaha community. I'm glad we were able to help here and I look forward to assisting more local business owners in the future.”
Koley Jessen is committed to promoting and supporting pro bono legal services for individuals and organizations in need, and we encourage our attorneys, paralegals, and professionals to actively participate in these efforts. As part of our Pro Bono Policy, we have established the Ascent Program to assist businesses that are majority-owned by underrepresented persons. Our goal is to provide $250,000 worth of pro bono legal services over five years. Since the program's launch in 2021, we have already logged 765 hours of service, and in 2022, 70 attorneys and summer associates contributed over 500 pro bono hours, putting us on track to meet our target. Koley Jessen is proud to support our communities through pro bono work and we remain dedicated to making a positive impact. For more information on Koley Jessen's diversity initiatives, visit our Roadmap to a More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace.