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How to Find, Buy and Turn Around a Fixer-Upper Business Here's what you need to know if you plan on rehabbing an existing business.

By Michelle Goodman

This story appears in the June 2015 issue of Start Up.

Aaron Cobb
Cleaning up: Bill Hennessey of Qwatro RoyalPak.

After pocketing $500,000 at age 25 from several ventures, including St. Party's Day, the event-marketing brand he created and licensed, Bill Hennessey decided to buy "a sleepy brick-and-mortar business" in an industry that wasn't crowded with other business-school grads. That way, the Toronto 'trep believed, he'd have less competition.

In 2012 Hennessey began snatching up Canadian companies that manufacture industrial cleaning products, purchasing four for roughly $2.5 million in all and consolidating them into one uniform brand, Qwatro RoyalPak. He says most of the companies were stagnant, mismanaged or both. One was on the verge of bankruptcy. Another had no digital records to speak of—the previous owner maintained all data by hand. But all had one thing in common: a strong, loyal customer base.

Qwatro RoyalPak is on track to earn $6 million in revenue this year, a 400 percent increase since Hennessey began building his empire. "We are viewed as the go-to Canadian company for vendors looking to exit the industrial chemical solutions industry," he says. "They see it as an incredible succession plan."

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