Will the Government Shutdown Affect Small Firm Buyouts?

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After 26 years in business, Connie Todd, 56, owner of children's clothing store Connie's Kids in Chesapeake, Va., plans to close her boutique if she can't find a buyer.

But Todd isn't just looking for the highest bidder. Price is a factor, of course, but a number of other factors must align in order for Todd to agree to sell. Most importantly, the buyer would need to be someone who will understand her target customer (mainly moms and grandmothers), appreciate the classic, traditional style of clothing she sells, while at the same time be able to infuse new styles to appeal to older children and young moms.

"One gentleman called me off of my ad on Craigslist," Todd said during an interview in September. "He wasn't the right fit," explaining that the inquirer seemed to be an investor looking to add the store to his portfolio. He didn't seem to have experience selling kids' clothes, she said, and that turned her off from a potential deal.

Connie Todd is owner of Connie's Kids. She's looking to sell her business but is worried about finding a buyer.

Todd's store is one of many that got caught between an intense recession and the overall greater competition from large discount retail chains and online stores that today are placing extraordinary pressure on small bricks-and-mortar retailers.

"I'm looking for someone who has that passion for it as I do," she said. "I'm just praying for a miracle that that person is out there, who I was 26 years ago."

But Todd now has another worry: Will the government shutdown effectively shut out any potential buyers?

"I am still hoping for a buyer, but with the government shutdown, our area has been hit hard, so I am a little less optimistic than I was a few weeks ago," Todd said on Monday.

Also see: Government Shutdown Stalls SBA Loans, Boosts Alternative Lenders

Also see: How To Sell Your Business For Top Dollar

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As of this article's deadline, the U.S. government is still in a week-long shutdown of all non-essential government services as Republicans and Democrats remain divided over President Obama's controversial health care reform.

The longer the government remains closed, the probability is greater that it will cut into this year's strong performance for small-firm exit transactions.