Often, when a business originally is built on one person's expertise—such as was the case with Dave's consulting work—it can be difficult to carry on when that individual retires or leaves the business for another reason.
That won't be the case for Silicone Solutions, both Brassards said.
“Years ago the business was everything for me,” Dave said. “It was my life. Now not so much. I can have a life right now. I took the month of February off this year and went down to Florida. I test-drove being retired. Everyone said you won't like it, you'll be bored.”
Not only did he enjoy the time off—he has plans to take off 12 weeks this year—he intends to retire within two years.
And while he was gone, the business didn't skip a beat. “I didn't have to call him once, and it was our best February in a long time,” Laurie said
Besides having developed a stable of products that bring in a steady stream of revenue, Joe Iatonna—who is married to Laurie's sister—has turned into a troubleshooter in his own right. “Joe is more on the ball then I am in a lot of areas because he's closer to things,” Dave said.
And while Silicone Solutions doesn't employ a full-time sale person, Laurie said its web store has helped boost sales, bringing in as many as seven new customers a day. Other customers come when people in the industry leave companies the firm has dealt with in the past and recommend Silicone Solutions to their new employers.
Because the firm provides custom materials, that also normally means as long as customers stay in business, Silicone Solutions will continue to supply them as captive customers. “Having no salesmen is a very novel business model,” Dave said. “And most people laugh at me, but I have a good response. We've never been in the red. Even with the big recessions and the big downturns, our overhead is very low, and our margins are very high.”
But that doesn't mean Silicone Solutions necessarily will remain in the family. Dave holds the majority of the stock, with Laurie and some others holding a stake and other stock being held in a trust. He said there's a chance he could sell it under the right circumstances.
“I have people talk to me (about buying the business), but most of them are bottom feeders,” Dave said. “They want to steal it from us, but that's not going to happen. I don't need to sell, and I'd sort of prefer to keep the company. However, if they give me an offer I can't refuse, we would sell.”
One reason he wouldn't be opposed to selling, though, is that it would free Laurie to pursue other dreams, rather than carrying on his. “Laurie is a writer, and I want her to be at home so she could write.”
For her part, Laurie said it's her father who has to make the decision.
“He's always given me an option if he gets an offer,” she said. “I want him to do what's best for him. I could be successful doing anything. ... I'm perfectly fine. Our parents did for us growing up, and I'll carry on his dream if it doesn't sell. And if it does, it's not going to hurt my feelings. He started it, and he deserves to see it come to fruition.”