All About Estates

A Business Succession Success Story

Last week I stopped by Walter Beauchamp Tailors to purchase a new tie (I was attracted by the “clearance sale” sign in the window). As fortune would have it the owner, Terry Beauchamp, was the person who helped me out. I asked Terry if the store was closing. Terry, who is in his mid ‘60s and still looks great, told me that it was time to enter the next stage of his career – he wanted to work less and do more travelling. That was all I needed to hear to strike up a conversation about business succession and estate planning. After hearing the story, I told Terry about the All About Estates Blog and how refreshing it is to tell a story with good ending.
In Toronto, Walter Beauchamp Tailors is an iconic brand, providing bespoke suits to some of Canada’s great businessmen, entrepreneurs and even the military for the past 106 years. The store, currently located at the corner of Wellington and Simcoe was originally opened by Walter Beauchamp in 1908 and it continued for two generations: first with Walter Jr., then most recently with Terry at the helm. Each of the former three Beauchamps ran the store for 35 years.
Most Estate or business succession plans start with a catalyst. Often it is a significant life event. In Terry’s case it may have been that he had recently wrapped up the administation of his late parent’s estate.  In any event, Terry was kind enough to share with me some of his thought process, which began almost five years ago. Terry told me that his first step was to engage his own team of professional advisors to help him develop a business succession plan which was coordinated with his Estate plan and, to make sure he had the right amount of insurance.
With respect to the first issue, the business succession, Terry examined the options which included a) transition to family, b) sell to a third party or, c) sell assets and wind-up. Terry’s children who are now between 27 and 33 years of age, have completed their education, have established their own careers our West and are not interested in taking over the business. Therefore, not surprisingly this option was eliminated. The next step was to focus on the remaining two options over the course of 4 years.
As I began by saying, Walter Beauchamp Tailors has an excellent reputation and the family name has been known and respected for over 100 years. The importance of maintaining this reputation for their family was a critical factor in Terry’s consideration and this weighed heavily in the decision process for Terry. A great solution for a company like this is a transition to the right hands where customers, employees, and suppliers may have the opportunity to continue to work together. These things take time to develop but sure enough Terry has secured an arrangement where Walter Beauchamp Tailors will become a part of Holt Renfrew. Terry will work part time over the next few years; the brand will be featured in Holt Renfrew stores; the employees will be retained as will the customer and supplier relationships.
This is a win-win solution. It required time, forethought and some professional advice but in the end well worth it.

About Paul Fensom
Scotiatrust offers a full range of estate, trust and philanthropic advisory services designed to meet a client’s personal objectives and designed to evolve across a variety of life stages and financial events. Email: