Do I Have Enough Money To Buy A Business? The Answer Might Surprise You


Do you have enough? When you’re considering buying your first business, this is probably the first question you will ask yourself. Why? There’s an unhelpful preconceived notion that you need millions and millions to buy a successful business. Guess what? You don’t.


Business prices can vary greatly, even within the same industry. If you are interested in buying a restaurant, for instance, you could get a small neighborhood sandwich shop for $50,000 – or you could shoot for a large waterfront steakhouse that could run you $500,000.


How are businesses priced?

Businesses are priced based on a few factors – namely how much money they earn (cash flow), the value of things like vehicles/equipment/furnishings and the value of the current inventory. There are other factors that also play into pricing, like how much comparable businesses have recently sold for, how many years the business has been open – the list goes on. When you first enter the business market it is a great idea to use the advice of an experienced and qualified business broker because they will be able to both explain how a particular business has been priced and also advise you on whether the business is potentially worth what the sellers are asking.


How do I actually buy a business?

In the business world cash is king. Most first-time buyers, however, are not coming to the market with large amounts of cash to spend. If you don’t have a ton of cash available then a very large manufacturing business that lists in the millions is probably not for you. There are, however, smaller businesses that can run under $30,000. What you end up spending will depend on what type and size of business would fit with your goals and also what you can afford.


What if I have almost no cash available, can’t I just get financing? Yes and no. Buying a business is nothing like buying a car. You can’t walk in with no money down and walk out with the keys. There are a few financing options available to business buyers, but it is important to understand from the start that you will need a fair down payment for any business with any financing option. No one is going to finance 100% of a business purchase.


There are a few traditional lending options – like bank loans – but for the most part you will have an incredibly hard time getting any bank to finance a small business purchase. 


The Small Business Administration (SBA) has some funding available, but much like traditional lending these loans are often hard to get. A business must meet a rather stringent set of criteria and then the buyer themselves will also have to meet SBA’s buyer criteria.


The last and most common financing option is something called seller financing. In this scenario the seller finances a portion of the purchase price to be paid back by the buyer over time. If you are looking to this option then you as a buyer will have to bring some capital to the table in the form of a down payment. For a seller a large down payment shows good faith that a buyer is serious about getting to a closing table. For buyers, a seller who is willing to hold a note like this is a good sign. It means the seller has confidence in the future of the business.


No matter how you end up buying a business – be it cash or financing – the most important point is to have realistic expectations and seek some sound advice.


When you first talk to your business broker, be honest about the amount of capital you will actually be able to bring to the table. Dishonesty here will eventually come out as you will be asked to prove how much capital you have as a deal progresses. Also be honest with your broker about what you are looking to get out of buying a business – if you just want to be your own boss, if you want a flexible schedule or if you want to follow a passion you’ve always had. With the amount of money you have and the goals you have in mind an experienced broker should be able to find you businesses that will meet with both what you have and what you need.


Are you a first-time buyer who has more questions about how businesses are priced? Would you like to know how much of a down payment you would need? Please ask us! Leave a question here, and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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Business Buyer? Why You Need A Business Broker


If you are considering the entrepreneurial leap, you will likely find many people in your life who are ready to give you lots of helpful (and probably more frequently unhelpful) advice. Friends, colleagues, attorneys, real estate agents and the like will probably be full of unsolicited information. 


When you buy a business, you need real help. By far the best person you can have by your side during the business buying process is an experienced and qualified business broker.


Business brokers help people buy and sell businesses, and as a buyer one of your first steps to business ownership should be finding a broker to help you. Your initial conversation with a broker should include a discussion of your goals for business ownership, the amount of capital you have to invest, the areas and industries where you have practical experience, your timeline for buying a business and the like. Having your own broker – someone who knows what you’re looking for and what you want out of the deal – will be instrumental in helping you find the right business. 


When I called about a business, there was already a broker involved – so why do I need my own?


Business brokers don’t represent the buyer or the seller in a transaction, they represent the transaction itself. That being said, the broker who you speak to when inquiring about a listing is someone who knows and has a relationship with the seller – and it is their job to get the business sold. Would you be willing to take the advice of an adviser who only knows about the seller and the business and nothing about you? Probably not. Your own broker is going to go through the discovery process with you – and then use that information to help you narrow down the choices of businesses currently for sale. The point here is you should have a broker who knows something about you too.


What if my broker matches me with one of their own listings? Is it a bad idea to have them represent both sides of the deal?


If your broker knows you and your goals, and has the perfect business to meet those goals, then no – it wouldn’t be a bad idea for your broker to represent both sides. Again, brokers represent the transaction, so as long as you and the seller are both comfortable working with the broker it shouldn’t be a problem. In many cases having only one broker in the mix can actually make the transaction simpler.


What did you mean by “experienced and qualified business broker”?


Our industry is a tough one, and while many budding business brokers come onto the market – most never make it to a closing table. We also have lots of moonlighters – people with professional expertise in a completely different field, but they sell businesses “on the side”. For the most part these moonlighters are real estate agents and attorneys, but we’ve even seen neurologists and dentists give business sales a go. If you are trying to buy a business, you want someone who knows what they are doing by your side. If you needed a cavity filled, you wouldn’t call a realtor – so make sure any broker you work with is actually a business broker. Then ask them about their experience. Are they brand-new to the industry? If they are, they will likely have an impossibly hard time getting seasoned brokers to cooperate with them, they will be unaware of the common pitfalls that can derail a business sale and they won’t be able to guide you properly through the process.


When you are ready to buy a business, do yourself and your goals a favor by employing the services of the best adviser possible – a qualified and experienced business broker. 


Have you shopped around for a business but haven’t found what you were looking for? Is the “broker” helping you really a moonlighter? Do you want to know what kind of business could help you meet your goals? Ask us! Leave us a comment or question and we would be happy to help you on your journey to business ownership.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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Why You Need A Transaction Broker: Protect The Deal Itself

Business sales are inherently complex. There are many aspects of the process of buying or selling a business that can be very different from the buying and selling of anything else.


If you have bought or sold a home, for instance, the business sale process will seem very foreign. There is usually more money changing hands, more complex financial issues, commercial leases needing to be negotiated, licensing and permitting concerns – the list goes on. How does one navigate this complex process? You employ the services of a professional business broker.



What is a business broker?


They are sometimes also known as transaction brokers, meaning they represent the transaction itself. 


Typically each side of the deal will have their own broker, and both essentially represent their party’s part of the transaction instead of representing the people themselves. This is why it is possible to have one broker for both the buyer and seller side of a deal. If both parties can trust the broker involved, having only one person as a go-between can make negotiations less difficult. 


Why is the business broker representing the transaction itself a good thing?


When a lot of money is changing hands things can get out of control very quickly. Business deals are messy. If the deal starts to go south, as most do at some point in the process, the broker is there to protect the deal. This is different from what an attorney might do in the same situation – an attorney’s job is to protect their client from any and all risk. If business brokers were employed to do the same thing, prevent any and all risk, it would be impossible to get a deal to closing because all business dealings – business sales included – come with a fair amount of risk.


The broker or brokers representing the transaction is what gets deals done.


Having someone to keep the deal moving is truly helpful, but you should also be able to trust the broker or brokers involved. Your broker is there to help you navigate this incredibly complex process and to help you either successfully sell or successfully purchase the right business for you. A good broker will go the extra mile for their clients because your eventual success as a business owner or seller leads to your broker’s success within a healthy small business market. 


Are you thinking of buying or selling a business and want to know more about the role of a business broker in the process? Please leave us a question or comment here, and we will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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Buying A Business? Commercial Lease 101

You’ve found a great business and are excited to start negotiations with the sellers – but here’s a thought you may not have considered. That’s not the only negotiating you’re going to have to do.


When you buy an existing business, you typically are not buying the physical space that the business occupies.


Most businesses come with a lease, and that lease comes with a landlord and/or property manager.



Most landlords accommodate transfers easily, but not all do. Deals can get hung up on the lease when the landlord refuses to grant the transfer or has decided to change the lease terms dramatically. They can also get hung up if you don’t start working on the transfer until the last minute. 


The most important thing you can do as a buyer is get your hands on a copy of the current lease as soon as possible, and then deal with any lease issues long before the day you are supposed to close your deal.


Once you have the lease, the language you would typically want to see is in the section of the lease that has to do with transfers or assignments of the lease. Does it say something along the lines of “any assignment will not be unreasonably withheld”? If it does, you are probably in good shape. This type of language means the landlord would have to come up with a very good reason to keep from transferring the lease to you.


Landlords, for the most part, are concerned with keeping a rental space filled and generating rental income. Some, however, are unwilling to reassign leases (at least initially).


This is a part of the business sale process where your business broker will be an invaluable asset. They can act as a buffer between you and a difficult landlord, and can help to negotiate your new lease or the reassignment of the old lease to keep the lease rates reasonable.


Another way to keep the lease from holding up your closing is to be forthcoming with your financial information when the landlord asks for it. Most landlords are going to want to see some kind of financial statement that proves you have the capital to keep the business open. It would be foolish for them to rent to a tenant who will be forced to close the business doors only a third of the way through the lease. Some landlords also want to see some kind of resume or work history to show you have the experience necessary to keep the business running and profitable.


You should also be aware that in some cases the rental rate will slightly increase from what the seller is currently paying when you get a new lease. You can negotiate a lease extension at the same rate, but eventually your new lease may come with a new rental rate. You will also be responsible for coming up with the deposits necessary for the lease.


The message here is your business won’t be much of a business if you can’t get a lease assigned to you for the space. Deal with lease issues early on and the won’t become a big headache in the end.


Are you a business buyer who has questions about business leases? Have you had a deal fall apart because of a difficult landlord? Please feel free to leave us a comment or question here, and we will be happy to assist you with any lease questions.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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Could Vs. Should – Buying A Business Without The Right Help

If you’ve ever bought a house or have even just rented an apartment, you know the importance of agents in those transactions. Your real estate agent or your rental agent helped you with locating potential properties, let you in to take a look around, assisted with your purchase or lease contract and was there throughout negotiations. While it is possible to buy a house on your own or rent your own apartment, it’s definitely easier with someone who knows what they’re doing by your side. When it comes to the small business market, the same will be true. It’s going to be much easier with help.


Business transactions are inherently very, very complex.


If you’ve never been through a business transaction before you are probably going to have an impossibly difficult time navigating everything that needs to happen. That’s where business brokers come in



A business broker is a transaction agent. Their job is to get a business sale from start to finish. They help buyers by guiding you through from you initial contact all the way past the closing table.


Your broker will talk to you about your goals for business ownership, the amount of capital you are able to invest, the areas where you would like your business to be located and your education/experience. Your broker will then help you with your business search, narrowing down the choices based on your feedback. Once you have found a business or two that interests you, you will sign nondisclosure agreements to gain access to the business name and some cursory financials. If you like these businesses your broker can schedule conference calls with the sellers as well as site visits when there are no employees or clients around. Your business broker will then help you write your offer which, if accepted, will become the purchase contract. The business brokers will act as buffers during negotiations between you and the seller – a very important role. They will also negotiate with your future commercial landlord and property manager to ensure you get a fair lease. Your broker will also help you with the licenses and permits required for you to take over as owner.


This is a big list – and it would be quite an undertaking for someone who has never been through it before. Very few business transactions go through successfully without help. An experienced and qualified business broker has not only been down this road many times before, but they know where the pitfalls are going to be and can help you avoid them. 


The message here? Could you buy a business without a business broker? Maybe. Should you? Definitely not.


Are you considering buying a business but aren’t convinced you need a business broker? Do you have more questions about what a business broker can do to help you throughout the transaction process? Please feel free to leave any comments or questions. We would be happy to help!




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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The Justifiable Offer: Why A Low-Ball Is A Bad Idea

You’ve done the searches. You’ve analyzed your options. You’ve done a few conference calls with sellers and you think you’ve found the right business for you. Your next step is a big one, and your decisions here can absolutely make or break your chances of buying this business. It’s time to make an offer.


Your offer is important for a number of reasons. The offer you put together (if accepted) will become the purchase contract. This contract will include not just the final sale price but many other parts of the transaction that will need to be negotiated. Think the length of your training period, the terms of the deal and how existing contracts will be assigned – just to name a few.


This all-important document essentially contains all the parts of your deal that will need to be negotiated. The fluid nature of an initial offer/purchase contract means the first version – your version – is just a place to start those negotiations. It should go without saying that you need to start off on the right foot. 



The relationship you have with the seller, although not a permanent one, will be critical to the success or failure of your transaction. You have to talk to this person, meet with this person, iron out a deal with this person and then most likely work side by side with this person during your training period.


This is not a relationship you want to start with a perceived slap in the face.


What do we mean by that? You do not want to low-ball a seller just to see how desperate they are or how great of a deal you can get. People who intentionally low-ball business sellers aren’t business buyers. They’re tire-kickers. Your initial offer speaks volumes to a seller about how serious you are and what it’s like to work with you. You are making a financial offer for something that seller has invested countless hours in, has spent years building and has made sacrifices to maintain. Yes, business transactions shouldn’t be emotionally driven, but in the small business market it really can’t be helped. No one wants their blood, sweat and tears treated like a cheap car.


What should you do instead?


Make a JUSTIFIABLE offer.


A justifiable offer is a simple concept – it’s something based in reality and backed up by data. You’ve looked at the numbers, you’ve considered the current market and you’ve come up with a number that makes sense – not the lowest, rock-bottom price you’d love but something you feel (based on the data you have) is fair.


Making a fair offer tells a seller that although you may not want to give them their full asking price, you are a person interested in making a deal happen. You are someone who values their business and all they’ve invested. 


How do I make sure my initial offer is fair? Talk to your business broker about what you’d like to offer, and then listen to their advice. They know the market, and can give you insight into whether or not the number you’ve come up with will be a good point to start negotiations.


The message here is simple. If you are serious about buying a business the best way to start your transaction is by making a fair and justifiable offer. 


Have you looked at businesses and want to know more about how sellers come up with their listing price? Do you have questions about what an initial offer/purchase contract entails? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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Follow The Rules: How To Keep From Killing Your Deal

Buying a business can be (and often is) an intensely frustrating process. When you have questions, when negotiations are in full swing – even getting initial information usually means you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for the seller’s broker to contact the seller. Waiting for the seller to get together the documentation you’ve requested. Waiting for an attorney to look over a contract. Waiting for approval by your new commercial landlord. Waiting for licensing and permitting requirements to go through. It takes an enormous amount of personal patience to see it through.


This huge patience requirement can make you feel a little crazy – maybe even crazy enough to try and push the process along by yourself.


What do we mean by that?


The process of buying and selling businesses comes with a rather rigid set of rules. The majority of those rules seek to protect the deal on two fronts. They protect the confidentiality of the transaction itself and they protect the buyer and seller from each other.


Why does a transaction need confidentiality and why shouldn’t you push to break it? Breaching confidentiality might not only kill your deal, it could potentially cause a fatal blow to the business you are hoping to buy. Business sales happen under a strict veil of confidentiality for a few very important reasons.


The most important of these reasons is the incorrect but pervasive assumption that a business for sale is a business on the brink of failure. This notion can destroy a business if the news gets out that it’s on the market. Employees can panic and leave. Clients can cancel big contracts. It can be devastating. As a buyer you have to keep the for-sale status of prospective businesses under wraps. You will not only be required to sign non-disclosure agreements – you will be forbidden from talking to staff on your own, from emailing the owner directly (in many businesses the owner’s email is accessible to their staff), from calling the place of business and asking for the owner, from visiting the premises without permission, etc.


While it might be tempting to email or call the seller because you’re tired of waiting for the brokers and attorneys involved to get you the information you’ve been asking for – don’t. One seemingly insignificant point of contact can cause a disastrous cascade. The rules exist for a reason. You have to follow them.


This leads us to the second set of rules that protect the buyer and seller from each other. Even if you are following the rules that protect confidentiality to the letter, it might be tempting to bypass the intermediaries and talk one-on-one with the seller (if you somehow have their home phone number, for example). Don’t do this either.




The better question is why do the intermediaries, the business brokers, exist? They exist because the complex tangle of a business transaction requires experience and it also requires a buffer. A seller is selling their blood, sweat and tears – something that may be their life’s work. They have a deep personal connection to their business – and a buyer can quickly and easily derail a deal by asking the wrong question, by making an innocent assumption, by saying the wrong thing. Those questions and remarks can offend a seller to the point that they will refuse to work with you – and your deal is dead.


Follow the advice of your broker and keep the flow of communication between you and the seller flowing through the people who you hired to keep your deal on track. Negotiations are far easier when the seller is still willing to talk to you.


The message here is the rules that cover your business transaction are there for a reason. Someone, somewhere messed up their chances of becoming a business owner – and their cautionary tale will keep your deal safe.


Are you a business buyer who thinks the rules are a pain and want to know more about why they are so important? Do you have a story about a derailed deal that could have been protected? Please leave any questions or comments here, and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242





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Selling? Why A Business Broker Is An Absolute Necessity

Are you thinking about selling your business and having these thoughts? 


I’ve owned a business for years. I know what I’m doing, why would I need someone to help me sell it?


Guess what? You absolutely need someone to help you sell your business – especially now in these uncertain times. That person is a business broker and they will be pivotal to your success in the business-for-sale marketplace.





You have put your blood, sweat and tears into your business to make it what it is today. When you sell your business, you want to get as much as possible for all of your hard work, and a business broker has the ability to do that for you.


Business owners are smart people, and they are great at what they do. Does that mean that they are qualified to sell their own business? Probably not.


A business owner has knowledge and expertise in their own industry, and the success of their business depends on their ability to focus on keeping the business going. A business broker has knowledge and expertise in the world of buying and selling businesses, and as a business seller you will need and appreciate this expertise throughout the selling process.


A business broker has the time to focus on selling your business, and the know-how to keep the whole thing confidential. This confidentiality is crucial if you don’t want to risk losing clients, vendors, and employees if the word gets out you’ve put the business up for sale. Brokers also have the ability to reach far more potential buyers than you could on your own. They belong to networks and have access to databases where they can market your business confidentially. Business brokers also know buyers who are on the lookout for specific kinds of businesses, so as soon as yours goes on the market, they will likely have people who may be interested. A business broker has a great deal of business marketing experience, and knows how to put together a marketing package that will bring the right kinds of buyers to you. They are then able to act as an intermediary between you and any potential buyers.


Most importantly a broker takes the pressure of the sale off your back so you can focus on doing what you need to do in order to keep the business moving in the right direction. 


Don’t take so much on your shoulders by trying to sell on your own. Get the right help.


Are you considering selling your business but still don’t think you need a broker? Would you like to know more about how a business broker helps you sell your business? Ask us! Leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.





Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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Is It Crazy? Help With Business Listing Prices


If you’re new to the business buying marketplace you will probably notice something right out of the gate as you begin your search – listing prices seem like they’re all over the map. 


How are you supposed to figure out if the listing price is fair?


While initially confusing, the listing prices of businesses can and do make sense in most cases – you just need to know how to look at the number the seller wants objectively.


Your best bet as a new buyer is to get some professional expertise on your side. Talk to a qualified business broker about some of the business prices you’ve seen and ask for their input. The listing price of a business can be a very nuanced thing. It’s often based on cash flow, but sometimes metrics like industry standard multiples, values of equipment and inventory, what comparable businesses have recently sold for, etc. can be part of the equation that leads to a listing price. Experienced eyes will be necessary to tease out the important details and help you decide if what a seller wants is fair – or well beyond the realm of reality. 


Why would someone list a business for a crazy high price? Sometimes those sellers are more interested in being told what they want to hear than they are interested in selling. Sometimes they are listing just to see if someone will make them an offer. In some cases these sellers will negotiate with buyers who come up with a fair and justifiable offer, but if they won’t – it’s probably time to move on. An extreme price can be a red flag that it will be very difficult to put a deal together. 


A realistic seller will be able to back up the number they’ve asked for. They will have the financial documentation that shows their request is legitimate. These sellers are willing to negotiate when presented with a fair offer, because ultimately a business is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. This does not mean that you as a buyer should throw extreme low-ball offers to see if they stick. A small business is someone’s blood, sweat and tears. The personal attachment to all of that work means that it is relatively easy to offend a seller to the point that they will refuse to work with you. Just as you would like the listing process to be fair – you need to return the favor and offer a fair price. 


The message here? Enlisting some professional guidance will be essential in helping you navigate the listing prices of the businesses on the market. Once you’ve determined that a business is what you want – put together a fair and justifiable offer. 


Are you just starting your business search and want to know what’s out there? Click here to search for current listings! Would you like to know more about how businesses are priced? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

5111 Ocean Boulevard, Suite E
Siesta Key, FL 34242

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All The Way To The Finish Line – Why You Need A Great Broker


Both parties have agreed on the purchase contract, you’re finished – right?


Not quite, and if you have a business broker who isn’t going to push your deal all the way to the finish line – then your deal could be in trouble. 


A contract does not mean the deal is done, it just means one step in the process has been completed. We have a very high closure rate once our deals get to contract – 70-80%, but most business brokers can’t get anywhere near that number.




Once the contract piece of the puzzle is done, many brokers walk away and let the deal fend for itself. They let things like licensing, SBA loan issues and follow-thru with details fall by the wayside – and when this happens a minor issue can become a major deal-breaker in no time.


A transaction isn’t closed until it’s closed.


Why would any broker let this happen? Once the contract is put together, most brokers think that their work is done, but the last few details are often the most important. Our process is different because we do an immense amount of pre-due diligence. We have all of the ducks in a row and have rooted out and dealt with many of the issues that come up at the end long before they become potential deal killers. Then, we don’t stop until the deal is done.


Let’s focus on just one of the often-overlooked last-minute details to give you an example of the importance of getting all those final ducks in a row:


If you as a buyer have no idea what the licensing requirements are for the business you are about to take over, how can you possibly have all of those requirements complete on the day you get handed the keys? Any business transaction means that at the very least all licensing must be transferred from the old owner to the new, and many of these licenses come with an inspection requirement that needs to be fulfilled before the business can serve customers. What does that mean if you don’t complete the necessary applications and inspections before the day you take over? You can’t open the doors until they are all complete, so having a broker who is on top of issues like licensing will be crucial for a successful transaction.


If you are a seller who offered seller financing, then it is in your best interest for the transition to the new owner to go smoothly. An incomplete licensing, permitting or inspection requirement will put the transition and the future of the business in jeopardy (meaning you won’t be able to get paid). Having a broker who is proactive on the licensing front (and all other fronts, for that matter) will mean a more successful transition to the new ownership and a far better chance for the new owner to find success right out of the gate.


Ask your broker how many of their deals make it to closing once the contract step has been reached. Their answer to this question will tell you all you need to know about their follow-through and whether or not you’ll be able to make it to the closing table.


Are you buying a business and want to know more about the process to transfer licenses? Are you selling your business and would like to know what aspects of your transaction will need to be followed all the way to the end? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments and we will be happy to help.




Michael Monnot

12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 249
Fort Myers, FL 33907


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Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242


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