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Brokered passion

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 7:58 a.m. March 14, 2014
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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Stacy Alario is a business broker in title only.

She really considers herself someone who connects aspiring entrepreneurs with their dreams. Like the time last year when she brokered a deal for an Egyptian family that fled the turmoil in the Middle East to buy a day care in Sarasota. That business purchase provided the family a literal life-saving way to get to the States.

“I love what I do,” says Alario. “I love it because of that corny saying that I can help someone achieve the American dream.”

Alario is president of Sarasota-based American Business Brokerage. She initially worked at the firm under her father, Charles Alario. She took over the company in 2006 when he retired. In the late 1990s and early 2000s the firm had nearly 20 brokers, and was one of the biggest in the Sarasota-Bradenton market. Stacy Alario was named to the Business Observer's 40 under 40 list of top business professionals in 2000.

The firm has since scaled back, due both to the recession and Alario's desire to do more sales in the field and less internal supervising and training. Alario, now 53, sold a building on Fruitville Road the company had owned and she moved into a smaller office south of downtown Sarasota. Says Alario: “It's just me, and I'm happy that way.”

The crux of her model now is to match business owners who want to sell with buyers. Many would-be buyers, she says, come to her with an idea of “owning their own business,” but they have no idea which one.

Alario's response: Go to your house and take a mental picture of all the services you need there. That photo, which could include a lawn service, bug spray firm and a pool company, to name a few, is a good place to start. Alario says service businesses like that will always be in demand in Florida.

The biggest challenge Alario faces is to explain to harried, jack-of-all-trades business owners how important it is to keep detailed and current financial records. Those records are the key between a business sale closing and falling apart. Alario says she's seen numerous deals collapse because the potential buyer doesn't have a clear understanding of the company's financials.

Alario has brokered sales in a range of businesses over the years, from bars and restaurants to a funeral supply company. Her referrals come mostly from networking, and, more recently, from immigration attorneys who work with foreign citizens looking to come to America.

Just like when she connects people with the American dream of business ownership, Alario takes pride in her work. She realizes buying a business can be a life-altering decision — for better or worse. “If you buy a house, you can pretty much turn around and sell it,” Alario says. “But if you buy the wrong business, it can have a detriment on a lot of people's lives.”

Blast from the Past
The 2000 edition of the Business Observer's 40 under 40, was full of multiple future stars. In addition to business broker Stacy Alario, other winners include:

  • Bill Galvano:
  • The Bradenton attorney was a partner with Grimes Goebel Grimes in 2000. Today he's a high-ranking Republican state senator.
  • David Hunihan:
  • Was president of Lee Wetherington Homes in 2000. He ran his own homebuilding firm for nine years after that, and now he's director of sales for Neal Communities.
  • Neil McCurry:
  • Was president of People's Community Bank in Sarasota in 2000, a bank he founded in 1999. People's was sold to Superior Bancorp in 2007 for $77 million. McCurry is now president of Sarasota-based Sabal Palm Bank.
  • Cathy Layton:
  • President of Layton & Co. in 2000. The entrepreneur and commercial real estate developer is a founding director at Sarasota-based Bank of Commerce.
  • Kelly Caldwell:
  • He has grown Venice-based Caldwell Trust Co. into one of the larger trust management firms in the region, with $700 million in assets under management.

    2000 Answers
    A glimpse back at Stacy Alario's answers from the 2000 40 under 40 issue.

  • Business hero:
  • Her father, Charles Alario. He was a great mentor and teacher.
  • Most influential book read:
  • Tom West's “Merger and Acquisition”
  • Person who influenced him/her most:
  • Her mom, Janet Alario, by teaching that family is very important.
  • Ambitions:
  • “To eventually take over my father's firm and raise my 15-year-old daughter.”


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