WEST MICHIGAN — A long-time West Michigan restaurateur has decided to sell his establishments and exit the business.
Sam Bravata, who started the first Sam’s Joint in Caledonia in 1977, says he is ready to retire. As a result, all nine Sam’s Joint properties across West Michigan are up for sale.
Some of the properties are already seeing interest even though they’ve only been on the market for about two weeks, he said.
After one of his sons had to step down from helping him run the restaurants two years ago due to health complications, the nine restaurants became too much for Bravata, who’s in his 80s, to run alone.
“It’s a good time for me to find someone with new energy,” Bravata said. “I’m getting too old to try and run these things, and I figure I better sell them before I kick off.”
The asking prices for the restaurants range from $350,000 to $795,000. One location is currently under contract with a potential buyer, and there are two other parties interested in several locations, said Dick Jasinski, a commercial broker for NAI Wisinski.
“These restaurants have been around for a long time and in most cases they’re in good areas,” Jasinski said. “Many have a lot of loyal customers that are going there all the time.”
Sam’s Joint currently has locations in Alaska, Caledonia, Coopersville, Dutton, Kentwood, Middleville, Norton Shores, Plainwell and Rockford.
Right now, keeping on top of food and labor costs are Bravata’s two biggest enemies. The restaurants have great volume, he said, but to continue to try to turn that volume into a better profit isn’t something he’s ready tackle.
“The restaurant business is competitive,” he said. “It’s not getting any easier.”