Star Tribune: Movers & Shakers: Andy Kocemba, President and CEO, Calhoun Cos.

Movers & Shakers: Andy Kocemba, president and CEO, Calhoun Cos.

By Todd Nelson , Special to the Star Tribune
April 28, 2018

Andy Kocemba, who helps entrepreneurs buy and sell small and midsize companies as president and CEO of Edina-based Calhoun Cos., is helping to celebrate those ventures here as part of National Small Business Week.

Calhoun Cos. has teamed with the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota and the James J. Hill Center in St. Paul to offer National Small Business Week-related events.

“It’s a chance to celebrate small businesses and build that community a bit,” Kocemba said.

The events, which are free but require registration, are: Growing Your Business Through Social Media, Tuesday at the Microsoft Store at the Mall of America (; Small Biz Pitchfest, with three owners making presentations to an expert panel, Wednesday at James J. Hill Center (, and Better Business Bureau Orientation and Networking Breakfast, Thursday at the organization’s Burnsville office (

Kocemba and his father Wally Kocemba, Calhoun Cos. chairman and chief financial officer, gained insight into the experience of buying a business when they purchased the firm in 2011. Both were longtime agents there before buying the company, founded in 1908 by pioneering real estate agent Nellie Mason.

Calhoun Cos. helps clients buy and sell businesses in a variety of industries, typically with annual revenue of $500,000 to $15 million though it has worked with smaller and larger companies, according to Kocemba.

The firm, which closes about 70 transactions a year, is one of the largest in the Twin Cities.

Q: What’s the market for small and midsize businesses now?

A: It’s still a seller’s market; if you have a quality, profitable company, that’s a hot commodity. There will be a premium paid for those businesses. The economy is doing pretty well and baby boomers even though they’re close to retirement … they’re not rushing them to market.

Q: How did you get involved in organizing these National Small Business Week events?

A: The week is well established nationally but we recognized a gap where nobody was really recognizing the week locally. We started this a few years back and it’s grown and gained momentum every year.

Q: Why should a buy or seller work with Calhoun Cos.?

A: No. 1 is our expertise and our time in the business. We work with local businesses but also through the five-state area. We have the same national and international reach as our competitors but have that background and local presence. Beyond that, I think we have among the highest productivity and volume.