Number of Shops: 3
Location: Anchorage, AK
Age of Business: 19 Years
1 MSO Acquisition in Alaska across all consolidators
Employment Agreement Negotiated with acquirer
Able Body Shop was started in 2002 by Ryan Cropper, with the purchase of a shop in downtown Anchorage. Over the next 18 years, Ryan expanded the business — strategically opening two larger shops, aligning Able with the burgeoning needs of the Anchorage market. The rise of consolidation in the industry prompted Ryan to reflect on the business, and he understood that more capital, more scale, and being part of a larger organization was the future.
“I was approached by one of the big consolidators. I hung up the phone saying, ‘I’m not ready,’ but it got my wheels turning… if they’re talking to me, they’re probably talking to others in our area. I realized I needed to be ready to compete against a consolidator, or join a consolidator.”Ryan Cropper, Founder of Able Body Shop
Engaging Focus Advisors
Ryan was familiar with Focus Advisors thanks to our market intelligence and relationships with national and regional buyers. Seeking guidance, he turned to our team to better understand the current M&A landscape, and whether timing and market conditions were opportune for a sale.
“I reached out to Focus Advisors and said, ‘Look, I don’t know if I’m selling, but I need to figure out what’s going on in my market and if that’s the best move for me.’ They had a knowledge base that I didn’t, because of their history in auto body. They had been a part of transactions I’d never see. Their inside scoop on the direction of the industry was intriguing.”
Drawing on our robust proprietary database to anticipate market trends and transaction activity, our analysis revealed that several buyers had strong interest in the Northwest US. Since Able had fundamentals to make it an attractive acquisition, we designed a pitch to generate regional interest.
“When do you sell your business? The best time is when you have a legitimate buyer. You can’t just come up with a date 10 years from now, because if you don’t have a buyer, you can’t sell. Timing isn’t always perfect — so having help realizing ‘this is a good time, this is a good buyer, this deal makes sense,’ brings a lot of clarity.”
Our Process & Approach
Focus Advisors guided Able Body Shop through our tried-and-true process — beginning with a confidential introductory call, followed by financial analysis and reconstruction. This enabled us to position the business for the best possible outcome.
“They walked me through it step by step. Not only was it one of the most emotional things of my life, but also a lot of hard work, with the level of detail you need to go into to get things across the finish line. Now I sit on the other side of it, and I see so many deals go south because they didn’t have everything in order. Focus Advisors really helped me plan for it, get ahead of it, and execute in a timely manner — so we met all the deadlines we were going for.”
We then leveraged our proven method for bringing MSOs to market, showing buyers their full potential for profitability and growth. At that point, no consolidator had established a presence beyond the 48 contiguous states — presenting a unique opportunity to position not only Able but the Alaskan region as a strategic investment. We also emphasized Able’s reputation in the industry as a superior operator with an effective flat management culture, mitigating the potential risks of entering a new market.
“They would tell me, ‘This is an area we can negotiate stronger and this one they won’t budge.’ That was very valuable; I didn’t necessarily know what areas to push back on and what areas not to. I could’ve made some bad decisions if I did it all on my own.”
We worked closely with Ryan to identify his goals for the sale — spanning from making sure Able’s team was taken care of, to ensuring the acquiring business model was sustainable for long-term real estate income for Ryan as the landowner.
“Focus Advisors knew the right fit for us. They were able to put it in front of all interested parties and get multiple offers on the table, very fast. It gave me the opportunity to make the best business decision I could with all the options. I doubt I could’ve done that on my own.”
Classic Collision ultimately prevailed — representing their first expansion beyond the lower 48 states, and first acquisition into the Northwest. This paved the way for other consolidators to gain confidence in growing over geographically larger distances. We also negotiated an employment agreement for Ryan to help the company expand operations in the Alaska market — creating a win-win for everyone involved.
“I consider myself a pro in collision repair, but I knew I wasn’t an M&A professional. Very few owners understand how to negotiate with a consolidator, or get to the bottom of all their financial due diligence. So my advice would be to realize what parts of the deal you don’t understand, and decide if that is something you can live with. If not, call Focus Advisors.”