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Noncompete Expired, a Serial Entrepreneur Seeks Repeat Success If you're thinking of selling your company, before you sign a noncompete agreement, consider the journey of a gelato pioneer.

By Bruce Schoenfeld

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When Jon Snyder sold his New York-based gelato company Ciao Bella in 1989, he was asked to sign a five-year noncompete clause. In the years that followed, he told anyone who would listen that he gladly would have signed himself out of the category for life. "I was done with gelato," he says. "Ready to move on. I never thought I'd come back."

So what's he doing with Il Laboratorio del Gelato, a 10-year-old company making a similar product? "Things change," he says. "I know that now."

What changed most of all was Snyder. He founded Ciao Bella as a 19-year-old after rustling up $25,000 from family and friends. The company struggled, but it became a point of pride for him to keep it going. That was admirable, perhaps, but it meant that by the time he started to turn a profit and had placed product in prestigious New York restaurants such as The Russian Tea Room, the "21' Club and The River Café, he didn't want to look at another carton of gelato.

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