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cityofsedonalogo.gifLooking for a business to buy in Sedona? Good luck. Some business brokers in Sedona have so many people looking for good-quality ventures that they use telemarketers to canvas for sellers.

By Susan Johnson
Larson Newspapers

Looking for a business to buy in Sedona?

Good luck.

Some business brokers in Sedona have so many people looking for good-quality ventures that they use telemarketers to canvas for sellers.

“Think about it,” said Dominic Femia, of WCI Business Brokers. “If you move to Sedona and you need to make money, there are only three options: get a job, start a business or buy a business.”

Most of the people who move to Sedona are coming from other parts of the world where salaries are substantially higher — which is almost everywhere.

Starting rates of pay that average $10 to $12, regardless of advanced degree or experience, drive newcomers to think about being their own boss here in the red rocks.

Finding a business or an occupation that’s affordable, or even for sale, is another story.

“Right now, service-related businesses and recession-proof companies are in high demand,” Femia said. “People looking to buy say that they want tour businesses, janitorial companies, hair salons, anything in the service industry.”

With all of the tour businesses already operating in Sedona, it seems the last niche where opportunity would be knocking.

“Yes, we have a lot of tour businesses in town,” Femia said. “And none of them want to sell because they’re all doing well.”

However, even if someone finds a business they want to buy, they come face-to-face with where to locate.

Despite the slump nationwide in real estate prices, business properties in Sedona are still at an altitude that almost precludes profitability for new entrepreneurs.

The Worm, a book and music store that was an Uptown institution for years, finally moved its operations to the Oak Creek Factory Outlets mall in the Village of Oak Creek when its landlord doubled the monthly rent from $4,500 to $9,000.

“Our rent [at the mall] is far cheaper and we have three times more space,” Andre Fearance said, an employee who’s worked at the Worm’s new location for a year.

Though construction on Hwy. 179 has slowed traffic to the independent bookstore, Fearance was upbeat.

“We [the mall] lost the Kitchen Connection and Casa de Sedona but we have a brand new theater called Sedona Dream Theater, and we’re hoping the locals will catch on that things are happening here.”

Rent isn’t the only expense for those folks who want to be boss.

Landlords in Uptown Sedona also charge a “key fee,” which can add $50,000 on to the grand opening costs of any establishment that doesn’t own its own turf, according to Femia.

Developers looking to cash in on the lack of space Uptown are submitting plans for their properties in West Sedona to Sedona’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

One of them is Paul Galloway, an owner and broker who recently presented two mixed-use projects for consideration.

The new ventures are located adjacent to Relics restaurant near Piñon Drive on W. Hwy. 89A and just off of Airport Road, respectively.

Galloway is taking no chances on securing tenants for his Piñon Project, hiring a broker who specializes in pre-leasing, that is, the available spaces are offered as a group to ensure high occupancy and compatibility across usage.

“I’ve hired a mixed-use specialist who has hundreds of retailers who trust him,” Galloway said. “The retailers we’re targeting are mid-scale and will be required to sign five- or 10-year leases.”

Susan Johnson can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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