Doug and Kathy Funk had been working toward retirement for a few years before they decided to enlist the help of KU’s RedTire program.

The couple had already sold one of two of their businesses in Concordia, Kansas, and planned to sell their remaining business, Funk Pharmacy, to a couple of their associates.

After months of discussions, that plan became unworkable.

Fortunately, RedTire connected them to other interested buyers, Robb and Meredith Rosenbaum, and following six months of negotiations and a move from Shawnee to Concordia, the Rosenbaums took ownership of Funk Pharmacy on July 1.

“I’m very glad it worked out the way it did,” said Doug Funk, a former president of the Kansas Pharmacists Association. “RedTire was a real service to us — it was nice having someone removed a bit from the situation screening people. It took away some of the anxieties of talking to potential buyers.”

Robb Rosenbaum, a graduate of the KU School of Pharmacy, said he had always wanted to own a pharmacy. He first learned of RedTire, short for Redefining Retirement, after receiving a mailing a couple years ago and visited the website to look at possible listings.

The program matches graduates of Kansas Regents institutions with owners of small- and medium-sized rural businesses looking for a successor. The KU School of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurship operate the initiative.

Rosenbaum said he and his wife didn’t know whether to expect a small culture shock moving from a suburban area to a rural area, but they fell in love with the community.

“Both the town and the pharmacy staff have been welcoming,” he said. “Our customers have been excited and supportive, and our volume has shown that and even some growth.”

Both Rosenbaum and Funk said they appreciated the help of RedTire program manager Denton Zeeman and director of KU’s entrepreneurship programs Wally Meyer throughout the process.

“RedTire helped each step of the way,” Rosenbaum said. “I felt comfortable and had faith knowing that RedTire works independent of the buyer or the seller.”

RedTire is currently assisting more than 100 business owners as they seek new ownership to preserve businesses in Kansas rural communities. The program is aiding more than 30 businesses listed at redtire.org.

The program is a free service and is financed by the KU School of Business and a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Since launching in 2012, RedTire has been called a “national model” for addressing rural small business succession planning by Forbes.com.

Funk, who is a new member of the RedTire Board of Advisors, said he would strongly recommend RedTire to other retiring Kansas business owners.

“It’s Kansans helping Kansans,” he said.

OTHER COMPLETED REDTIRE MATCHES

Flint Hills Veterinary Hospital
Junction City, Kansas

Kansas Publishing Ventures
Hillsboro, Kansas

Yates Center Dental LLC
Yates Center, Kansas

Duis Meat Processing Inc.
Salina and Concordia, Kansas

Atchison Animal Clinic
Atchison, Kansas

Hoisington Veterinary Hospital
Hoisington, Kansas