Horn Photo sells to Teamshares, adds employee owners

Fresno, Calif-based camera specialty store Horn Photo is 10% employee-owned after owners Stan and Shelley Grosz sold the business to Teamshares, a fintech company focusing on purchasing small businesses from retiring owners and working to keep all employees by providing equity in the business.

Horn Photo is the 57th small business to use Teamshares to transition to an employee-owned business and will join the more than 1,500 employee-owners building wealth through stock ownership. A total of 18 Horn Photo employees will collectively receive 10% of the company’s stock as a group, then after 15-20 years, employees will own 80% of the company, according to an article in GV Wire.

The Grosz’s bought the business in 1991 – one of five in the Fresno area – and outlasted the competition. In 2019, the business was named Digital Imaging Reporter’s Dealer of the Year. Horn Photo was founded in 1937.

Kevin Shiiba, a Teamshares co-founder, says that while the company has bought Horn Photo, it doesn’t invest in companies to run them, according to an article in GV Wire. Instead, Teamshares relies on bringing in someone new or someone the previous owners have trained to run the business.

“Stan and Shelly will exit the business and fully retire in confidence knowing that this business is not going anywhere,” said Shiiba. “So then the business will be owned 10% by the employees now owners of Horn Photo and 90% by Teamshares.”

According to Shiiba, over time, Horn’s profits will go into the pockets of the employee-owners through dividends and stock buybacks eventually resulting in 80% of the shares being owned by employees.

The move follows a trend of camera store owners, seeking a way to sell their businesses, opting for employee ownership. Park Cameras and London Camera Exchange, both in the United Kingdom, became employee-owned businesses in early 2021.

Teamshares has not yet responded to requests for comment.

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