tv The Profit CNBC November 10, 2019 4:00am-5:00am EST
sal: no, no, not at all. lemonis: it's a work in progress. i leave here encouraged, but i don't leave here totally satisfied. -we got a bright future. -sal: i'm excited. lemonis: let's go. come on. i visit swansons fish market, a multi-generational landmark located in fairfield, connecticut. is it always this busy? gary: yeah. lemonis: but after a tragic fire, these owners are struggling to keep their heads above water. how are you surviving? gary: we'll take money out of the deposits. i'm put against the wall. lemonis: and morale is at an all-time low. larissa: i've just been through a lot trying to help everyone, and i just don't know how much more i can deal with. lemonis: if i can't throw them a line, this historic institution may close forever. gary: it's the only hobby i really have. sue: it's ridiculous! lemonis: my name is marcus lemonis, and i fix failing businesses. if you don't like money, don't follow my process.
i make the tough decisions. we're closing the store, we're done, i'm not talking about it anymore. i back them up, spending my own money. it's not always pretty... man: perfect flavor. lemonis: ...but this is business. you got to trust the process. i do it to save jobs, and i do it to make money. thanks for your business. this is "the profit." fairfield, connecticut, is a pretty new england town right on the coast of the long island sound, and swansons fish market is one of fairfield's local institutions. for over 40 years, they've been selling fresh fish, hot soups, and doing a little catering and, along the way, got their fair share of critical acclaim. gary: okay, you're getting the works today. lemonis: gary swanson jr. took the market over from his dad and worked alongside his wife, sue, and they made a comfortable life for his family. but on july 4, 2009,
a fire destroyed his original store. [ siren wails ] dispatcher: code 6. gary: completely devastated. lemonis: not only did the family lose income for an entire year, but they lost a good portion of their customer base. gary: we definitely need to pay a couple of these vendors. hopefully, we have enough money in the account right now. lemonis: when the store finally reopened, a year after the fire, gary was $900,000 in debt. sue: monday's deposit that should have went in on tuesday didn't go in till the following week. gary: i'm put against the wall. lemonis: sue is so demoralized by the downturn that she's spending less and less time at the store... sue: i need a break. i'm reaching my boiling point. lemonis: ...forcing their daughter, larissa, to come home and work with her dad and help pick up the slack. this is a critical time for swansons. gary: i really don't know how much time we have left. lemonis: family-run businesses like swansons are the lifeblood of this country, and i know with the injection of some cash and some improvements in their process, i can rejuvenate the business
and turn swansons into a big fish once again. swansons' location seems great. it's on one of the busiest streets in fairfield, it's in a beautiful building, and there's two other businesses next door. -spencer: morning. -lemonis: how are you? -i'm marcus. -spencer: spencer. -lemonis: hey, nice to meet you. -spencer: you too. -lemonis: i'm marcus. -paul: how you doing, marcus? -i'm paul. -lemonis: nice to meet you. -paul: good to meet you. -lemonis: wow. you got a lot of good stuff. paul: yeah, we're working on it. man: how you doing? do you have 2 pounds of red snapper? spencer: no reds today. -man: no reds? -spencer: no. man: well, i'm gonna try some grouper today. 2 pounds. spencer: okay. lemonis: what else are you out of? paul: i believe we are out of tuna. lemonis: tuna's kind of a popular fish to be out of. is gary, the owner, around? spencer: yes. i'll go get him. he's in the office. lemonis: okay. the place is definitely underutilized.
i look to the left, and there's this big counter with nothing on it, nothing merchandised on it. it definitely has room for improvement. paul: i mean, this is a great place. i love the job and everything. it's just that sometimes it gets a little bit stressful when you don't know what's going on. lemonis: what kinds of things are you -- paul: like money, really, to be honest with you. sometimes, we're asked if we mind waiting for our checks a week or two. we've had problems paying for product. so we've all pooled our money together on several occasions -- -lemonis: people that work here? -paul: yes. ...and helped them out. lemonis: how much are we talking? 100 bucks? paul: a couple hundred each. lemonis: in what business are the employees actually buying the inventory? they have bills to pay. this business is in real trouble. how are you? gary: good. -lemonis: i'm marcus. -gary: i'm gary. lemonis: gary, nice to meet you. this is an unbelievable location. how long have you been here? -gary: 41 years. -lemonis: wow. -and who started the business? -gary: it was my dad. lemonis: and do you guys rent this property? gary: no, we own this property. lemonis: how much did you buy this property for? gary: way back when, it was $450,000, and i bought it from my dad for $600,000.
lemonis: it's a really nice building. gary: well, it didn't look quite like this, 'cause it burned down. lemonis: remind me a little bit -- when did this fire happen? gary: 4th of july, 2009. it was 100% loss. lemonis: and how much was the total loss? gary: over $1 million. lemonis: how much did the insurance pay? gary: about $1.2 million. lemonis: so the loss was $1 million, but they paid $1.2 million? -gary: yeah. -lemonis: okay. -do you mind if i come around? -gary: oh, no. you're welcome. lemonis: do you have a mortgage on the property? gary: i do. lemonis: how much is that payment a month? gary: about $3,800. lemonis: so, those people next door are your tenants? -gary: yes. -lemonis: how much do they pay? gary: $3,000 a month. -lemonis: each one? -gary: each one. lemonis: so you have $6,000 coming just from them? gary: yes. lemonis: so more than covers your mortgage? gary: more than covers it. lemonis: swansons' monthly mortgage payment is $3,800, but the rent they collect from the two tenants is $3,000 each, so swansons, after they make their own monthly payment, will still clear $2,200 each month,
totaling $26,400 each year. they actually make money on this deal. so, you have a bit of a kitchen here. gary: oh, yeah. lemonis: and what's the most profitable -part of the business? -gary: prep foods. -lemonis: prepared foods? -gary: yeah. lemonis: so how much fresh fish do you sell each week? gary: about $18,000. lemonis: $18,000? what are the margins on that fish? gary: about 30%. lemonis: and then how much in soups and prepared foods do you sell a week? gary: it's equal -- about $18,000. lemonis: and what are the margins on that? gary: that's about 60%. -lemonis: double the margins? -gary: yeah. lemonis: and what does it take to run this place a month? what does it cost between mortgage payment, utilities, payroll -- everything? gary: i would guess $18,000. lemonis: so, gary's explained that he does $150,000 a month in business. i asked him what his margins are, and he told me 30% on fresh fish and 60% on prepared foods. half and half is the business mix. if i take 45%, which is the average of the two, across $150,000 in revenue, that's $68,000 in gross profit per month. he then tells me that his expenses are $18,000 a month.
that would leave him with $50,000 in net profit at the end of the month. there's almost $70,000 in gross profit, and the expenses are only $18,000. gary: no, that was -- you know what? that's way off. there's just a lot of expense that's associated with running the business. lemonis: so what's that? like, give me an example. gary: those are loans, the mortgages, we borrowed money from people for construction, and i have vendors that i couldn't keep up with. lemonis: and is all that debt still outstanding? gary: yeah. lemonis: when i'm talking to gary about his numbers, what i'm kind of scratching my head on is he's making money. i can see the customers outside. i believe him on his margins 'cause i did some research. and so the numbers aren't adding up to me. you know what i'd love to do, is taste the soup. gary: okay. spence, you want to give marcus the soup tour? -spencer: sure. -lemonis: soup tour. -how does this stuff sell? -spencer: great. this is swansons' family recipe. lemonis: so, what is this called? spencer: this is bouillabaisse.
-lemonis: this fish is amazing. -spencer: yeah, thank you. lemonis: i'm a little disappointed that gary hasn't expanded his prepared foods. the margins are double what the fresh fish is. if he can just have what i call "attachment" -- attaching one prepared-food item to every fresh item that he sells -- his business should go up markedly pretty quick. how you doing, sir? do you come here often? -man: i do. -lemonis: what do you get? is there a specialty that you love? man: i love this coconut shrimp. the stuffed clams -- i can't make them at home as good as he makes them here. i just wish he did more prepared stuff. i'd like to see the man open a restaurant. lemonis: will you come help us wait tables? i'll wait them with you. man: aw, i don't know. i'll come to eat. lemonis: okay. nice meeting you. man: thank you. lemonis: is it always this busy? gary: yeah. yeah. well, this time of day, yeah. larissa: dad, can i get you to sign some of these checks for the vendors? lemonis: how are you? i'm marcus. larissa: hi. nice to meet you. larissa. i'm gary's daughter.
lemonis: and you're the one that reached out to me? larissa: yes. i was shocked. i didn't think you would call. lemonis: what prompted you to come here? larissa: well, all the stress. my mom was doing the books, and she was so overwhelmed that she didn't have any help, and neither did he, and... lemonis: you had another job? larissa: yeah, i was working retail. lemonis: was it a good job? larissa: yeah. i was getting paid well. lemonis: so you didn't really know what you were doing? larissa: not really, no. lemonis: and do you live close to here? larissa: no, i live an hour away. lemonis: you drive an hour each way? larissa: yeah, an hour each way every day. lemonis: why do you do it? larissa: my family keeps me going, and it's hard watching people you care about struggle. lemonis: how is it working with your dad? larissa: it's nice. gary: yeah, we get along fine. her and her mom -- not so much. larissa: yeah, we'll argue who we should pay first -- this vendor, you know. gary: yeah, my wife will come in and yell at me and bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, and i just leave. lemonis: yeah. hi. i'm marcus. are you sue? sue: marcus! lemonis: nice to meet you.
sue: oh! i love it that you're here! you don't know what we've been going through, marcus. lemonis: well, tell me about it. sue: gary can drive you nuts the way he does his books. you know, when there's not enough money here, he'll pull it out of the realty, and then, you know, that's the tenants' checks that are coming, you know. there are times that i'm like this. lemonis: and so, are you out of the financials now? sue: i want to be. yeah. lemonis: but i thought your daughter did the books. sue: yeah, she just started. she could see it, you know, that i just don't have it in me anymore. right now, we can only pay, like, one or two people a week, and that's it. lemonis: how's payroll getting made? sue: gary was able to put a few thousand dollars aside, and he made payroll last week. lemonis: it's that tight? sue: marcus, i'm behind two months on my mortgage. lemonis: at home, you mean? sue: yeah. i get my verizon shut down every month. lemonis: the reality of it is, the situation's bad. sue: oh, yeah. -lemonis: right? -sue: mm-hmm.
lemonis: the good news is, we'll figure it out, because what i know for sure is that i saw a lot of customers come through. this is an institution. we just have to figure out how to make money, okay? sue: yeah. okay. gary: we have a beautiful office. lemonis: and so, this is all new? you built this building from scratch? gary: yeah. lemonis: after meeting with sue downstairs, i'm a little confused about the numbers now that she's passed them off to larissa. i want to get them all together so i can clearly understand what the numbers really are and what the company really needs. gary: i have a picture over here of what the old building looked like. lemonis: that one's, like, one you want to just take out of your memory. how did the fire start? do you know? -gary: they don't know. -lemonis: what do you think? larissa: well, we had a fire in our warehouse. lemonis: so, wait a minute -- there was two fires? larissa: yes. gary: it's hard to believe that it happened twice.
lemonis: and how much did that fire cost you to rebuild? gary: i didn't track it, but i want to say 30 grand. lemonis: how much did the insurance give you? gary: think it was about $220,000. lemonis: and how much did it cost to rebuild here? gary: probably about a million dollars. lemonis: how much money did the insurance give you? gary: $1.2 million. lemonis: with the warehouse, gary told me they received $220,000 from the insurance company, but it only cost him $30,000 to rebuild. with the main fish market, the swansons location, he received $1.2 million from the insurance company, but it only cost him $1 million to rebuild. that means that he got an excess of $390,000 from the insurance company. i'm a little confused why they're in such trouble. larissa, was it a total mess when you got here? larissa: oh, god. it was such a mess. that's why i needed somebody's help with it. no one helped me. sue: i talked to you on the phone. larissa: no, you didn't. lemonis: sue, i'm kind of getting the feeling that you really kind of left larissa with the bag
in trying to figure all of this out. i mean, she's a young girl. sue: yeah, no, no, not that bad as you might say. larissa: no, i was pretty much here alone every day trying to teach myself. lemonis: gary, do you feel like sue left larissa holding the bag? gary: yeah. yeah, she has. lemonis: i mean, you want the business to survive, somebody's got to teach her how to do it instead of dumping it on somebody else. that, to me, is like "holy crap." larissa: [ sighs ] i'm sorry. lemonis: what are you stressed about? larissa: just everything -- all the bills and everything that's been piling up. it's just so much. i've been trying my hardest to help, and i just don't know how much more i can do, you know? sue: exactly. why do you think i'm at home? i'm dealing with the phone calls at home. -gary: mm...no, you're not. -sue: yes, i am. persuade them, you know, to work with us. that's what i'm doing. lemonis: sue, look, it's clear to me that you need to take more of an active role in the business. are you able to be here on a daily basis
to take some of this burden off larissa? sue: yes. lemonis: the fact that i can't analyze these numbers the way i normally do makes me very uncomfortable. so, i tell you what i'd like to start with, is understanding this whole universe of debt. and so do you have that on a spreadsheet? so, taxes, i.r.s. -- $33,000? larissa: yes. lemonis: kas mortgage -- $345,000 on the building? -gary: correct. -lemonis: i'm a little confused how a business that got a fresh start after receiving insurance money can be in such debt. they owe their vendors $187,000, taxes -- $67,000, credit cards -- $30,000, utilities and services -- $44,000, and all mortgages at $595,000, totaling $923,000 in debt from a company that got a fresh start just a few years ago. how do you guys pay the bills at home? how are you surviving? gary: i will take money out of the deposits. i will take money, cash out, and give it to her to go to the store.
lemonis: and sue was telling me downstairs that one of the things she struggled with is you were pulling from this fund and pulling from that fund. gary: yeah. sometimes that would happen. and a lot of these expenses are just household expenses. lemonis: gary, so you told me that your mortgage is really past due, as well. gary: at home, yeah. lemonis: is your mortgage paid here? gary: yes. we're in good shape. lemonis: what kind of car do you drive? sue: the bmw. lemonis: well, where do you get the money to pay it? -sue: well, i... -lemonis: out of the company? sue: yeah. lemonis: you owe your credit-card providers, you owe your vendors. you have a mortgage that's past due. you can't pay your employees on time. the employees are having to pay for fish themselves. driving a bmw may not be a deal breaker as it relates to their finances, but it's a deal breaker as it relates to sending a message and leading by example. it just isn't right. do you have a profit-and-loss statement for the business? larissa: oh, yeah. right here. lemonis: so, $1.8 million in total business? and the business, on paper, made $148,000.
gary: on paper. lemonis: and so, what it doesn't account for is any money that left the business to pay debt. from what i can see, swansons has a lot of business, and they actually make a decent profit, but between paying their mounting credit-card debt and sticking their hand in the till, that paper profit is really a cash loss of hundreds of thousands. this is a 40-year-old family business. it's a long time. it's a lot of history. it's a lot a fish. it's a lot of customers. it's a lot of memories. and those are to be taken very seriously. the struggle that i have is, the numbers are fuzzy to me. and with the numbers being as fuzzy as they are, no investor -- particularly me -- is gonna invest in a business that isn't cleaned up. i'm not rolling the dice. this is not a parlay game.
i'm not gonna continue to just hope that it works out, because we haven't demonstrated as a collective group that we can manage money very well. it's too dangerous. it's russian roulette. gary: well, then we're wasting our time. then there's nothing we can do. lemonis: or you have the option -- you sell the building. and so my offer is i'm willing to put $1 million up to buy the building... ...which allows all of your debt to get paid off, own 100% of the business, and put working capital in the business and not have to lose sleep at night. gary: i don't want to sell the building. giving up the building would be a mistake. lemonis: how much is the monthly payment? i feel like you're offended by me asking the question. i'm kind of annoyed that you're offended. if you don't want the million dollars, sue, just tell me, and you guys can figure it out.
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lemonis: i'm willing to put $1 million up to buy the building. gary: i don't want to sell the building. giving up the building would be a mistake. and $1 million might not be the right number. maybe it's worth $1.6 million. that wouldn't be a good deal. lemonis: and let me tell you how i arrived at that. $1 million, coincidentally,
happens to clean every bill you have up and put working capital in your business. gary: but then we no longer have this future investment. sue: that's our security. gary: can't do it. lemonis: and if you had the ability to buy it back at a future date? gary: okay, well, you have my attention with that. lemonis: okay, at some point in the future, if you are able to save money from your profitable business or you decided to sell your business, you can then come back to me and buy the building back. i don't know how that doesn't seem reasonable. gary: well, now that you're saying that there's an opportunity to buy it back, i would be interested in that. lemonis: so, is that a deal? gary: yeah. -lemonis: okay. -gary: thanks. when do we do all this? do we -- lemonis: well... gary: oh, boy. sue: [ sighs ] lemonis: $1 million. gary: give it to larissa.
larissa: ohh! [ laughs ] lemonis: when i normally write a check, i allow the business owner to deposit that money right into their account for operations or equity. in this case, the check that i'm writing is gonna go into escrow. when the attorneys have confirmed that everything's clear, the money will be dispersed. it'll go to the banks first, the vendors second, and whatever's left after everybody's paid will then go into the business. that ensures that there's no issues -- no fuzzy math, no questions, no risk. sue knew she was supposed to be here today? larissa: yeah. gary: i don't know. lemonis: she's not answering? gary: she's not answering. lemonis: [ sighs ] so, guys, i wanted to get everybody together to kind of tell you -- last night, gary and i made a deal for me to buy this building for $1 million. i'm not buying it to make a real-estate investment. i'm buying it to give gary an opportunity to get the business back on its feet. and so i'm gonna bust everybody's fanny to make sure that we're successful. so, when we go through this process,
i'm 100% in charge. what i say goes. and so, we're gonna look at people, process, and product. i think the process is broken. when i find out that you guys are taking money out of your own pockets to make sure there's fish there, that's a broken process. when i found out that customers want prepared foods and we don't have them, that's a broken process. and so we obviously want to study this case, study the square footage, and figure out ways to make every square inch of this place more profitable. in swansons fish market, their cases make up 54 square feet of space -- 18x3. i now believe that i can take 54 square feet of space and double the revenue. the prepared foods have a 60% margin, versus the fresh fish at 30%, and so i know that if i can take the products that are in the current case and cook it, grill it, boil it, season it -- do all the things to it -- and make them prepared foods, we can go from doing $150,000 a month in sales to well over $200,000.
what can we do to get more in their basket and more through the register? -hi, sue. -sue: hi. how are you? -lemonis: good. -sue: good. lemonis: do you want to go ahead and join us? sue: yes. lemonis: sue committed that she was gonna be more excited and more involved in the business, right? and she's gonna do whatever it takes to make sure that we're successful. you're committed, right? sue: oh, yes. i'll be larissa's backbone. i will guide her every step of the way. definitely. lemonis: 41 years this business has been here. it's our job to make sure that it doesn't go away. all right, let's get to work. -thanks, guys. -gary: thanks. thank you. gary: okay. well, yeah, it's -- all right. what we'll do is i'll talk to you guys in the next day or so. nelson: all right, thank you, gary. gary: all right, bye. lemonis: what's that about?
gary: black rock café -- they're falling behind on the payments. -lemonis: the people next door? -gary: yeah. lemonis: how much is that? gary: around 15 grand. lemonis: boy, that's a lot of money. where's all the paperwork? gary: i have it. lemonis: and who's joseph? gary: he's the money guy. he told me they're not making it. lemonis: they're not gonna make it? gary: no. doesn't look good. lemonis: the situation at black rock is bleak. they opened up a couple months ago, and already, they're $15,000 past due on the combination of rent and equipment. it looks like they're ignoring their financial obligations. gary: he has the money. i think he's made a decision to not put anything more into the business. lemonis: so he's personally guaranteed this? gary: yeah. lemonis: the owner of black rock café has a $75,000 personal guarantee on this equipment and the lease. what that means is that we can go collect on his personal assets. i don't want to do that. what i actually want to do is come up with a solution that works for black rock and works for swansons. well, if they can't pay, then what about the possibility of turning that into, like, a swansons grill?
maybe it's a way to sell more fish, get better prices. gary: yeah, that might be a great idea. lemonis: swansons should have a restaurant, and black rock, the way it exists today, isn't a viable business, so i feel like i could fix both situations with one meeting. why don't we maybe see if we can get together with them, okay? where is sue, by the way? larissa: she's on her way. gary: yeah, she's always late. lemonis: i'm annoyed that sue continues to come late. she's trying to convince me that she's committed to the business. she's not committed to the business. she's committed to herself. gary: aha. finally. sue: morning, marcus! how are you? lemonis: good afternoon. gary: "good afternoon." sue: [ laughs ] lemonis: you told me you were all in this business. did something change? sue: no. lemonis: i got here early thinking you were gonna be here, and so i'm just -- if you're not gonna be engaged, i just need to get that around my head. sue: no. let's move forward. lemonis: i feel like these guys are doing all of this by themselves. am i missing something? am i just wrong about how i'm seeing it? are you able to get rid of your car to lower that payment?
can you change to a different car? sue: [ chuckling ] here we go again. lemonis: how much is the monthly payment? gary: is it $500? lemonis: it's $500? sue: yes. lemonis: i feel like you're offended by me asking the question. i'm kind of annoyed that you're offended. if you don't want the million dollars, sue, just tell me, and you guys can figure it out. it does send a bad message when your employees downstairs are taking money out of their pocket to buy the fish and you're driving a bmw, right? gary: yeah, no, you're right. lemonis: am i thinking about it the wrong way? lemonis: can you agree with that? larissa: i agree with you 100%. lemonis: and so, you don't agree with that, sue? sue: that...? lemonis: it sends a bad message? sue: but that started happening afti was driving it. it didn't happen before. so... larissa: it is upsetting that you have kind of abandoned the whole thing and put this all on me and don't feel bad about it. sue: larissa, when you're in here, are people calling? larissa: i'm here all day every day.
i'm dealing with everyone coming in and out of that door all day. sue: and it's very stressful, yes. larissa: people looking for checks -- they didn't get paid last week. sue: and then we bounced two checks this week. larissa: i know about all of that. sue: i don't know if you're aware about it. larissa: i'm here five, six days out of the week. sue: okay. because obviously -- larissa: it's my routine every day coming here. sue: obviously, i'm not -- larissa: i drive an hour every day to get here from branford. i don't know why i made everyone's problemy problems. [ voice breaking ] sorry. i'm getting emotional. i've just been through a lot trying to help everyone. and i just don't know how much more i can do. -like, it's just... -sue: oh, no. larissa: i try to be strong for everyone, but... sue: ohhh. you're doing a fine job. you're doing great. [ smooches ] mommy loves you. no, you are. you're doing good. but no, working here -- larissa, the amount of -- i know. i know the amount of stress. larissa: i don't really have anything else to talk about now.
this is just a lost cause. [ sighing ] i just... lemonis: you guys are $15,000 behind. in the real world, if you don't pay your rent, the door gets locked and everything inside becomes his property. even after you clean, odors are still trapped in your fabrics. febreze fabric eliminates those odors.
lemonis: black rock's situation looks really bad, and they've pretty much given up on honoring their financial obligations. secondly, gary really needs to expand his business in the prepared-foods market. so i'm looking to come up with a solution that not only gets gary his restaurant back, but lets black rock off the hook. nelson: gary. how's it going? lemonis: how you doing, sir? i'm marcus. joe: marcus. joe. nice to meet you. lemonis: nice to meet you, joe. right now, the business is struggling. you're a few months in, and you're already $15,000 behind. joe: i understand -- i mean, i have
other business interests, as well, so it's kind of tough. lemonis: you have $75,000 on the hook, and you have a lease. do you have the money to take care of this guarantee? joe: i could pay it, but it's a question of "do i want to go into my retirement account and start liquidating?" lemonis: and honestly, i don't want you to do that. and so we're giving you a lifeline. we're suggesting that, for a very nominal amount, your personal guarantee is gone, all the liability would go away. yes, you would take your losses on everything you've put in thus far, but it at least stops the bleeding. nelson: so, what is that nominal amount that you're talking about? lemonis: $10,000. that'd be probably it. this is a no-brainer. anytime somebody allows you to get off the hook for 10 grand on a $75,000 obligation, it seems like there's not much to think about. this restaurant would become part of gary's business. you would become kind of the chef for the swansons team. we'd be making prepared foods here. and everybody keeps their job. this gives the opportunity for the employees of black rock to keep working and for gary to sell more fish.
seems like a win-win to me for everybody. joe: we had a little bit of hiccups with opening this up. that kind of put us behind the eight ball. so i'm okay with walking away. nelson: we are gonna go ahead and do the deal. lemonis: i see this as a really good opportunity. gary: yeah, this could be a great success. lemonis: it's going to be a great success. i'm glad the deal's done. we'll see you guys tomorrow. nelson: marcus, thank you. lemonis: thanks, guys. you had put together a spreadsheet of everything we owe. -is this it? -larissa: yes. lemonis: so, here's what i want to do, gary. i want to start calling some of these vendors right now. what i want you to remember is you're getting a set amount of money from me. and so the less that you can have leave, the better. and so i'm looking for you to negotiate as best you can... larissa: with everyone. lemonis: ...with every single person. let's start with val's. i want you to call them and offer them $35,000. larissa: okay.
lemonis: we owe a lot of money to our vendors -- almost $200,000. one of those vendors, val's, that supplies our fish, we owe $53,000 to. we need to negotiate these down. and quite frankly, i'm assuming that most of these vendors will be happy to hear from us 'cause getting something is better than nothing. larissa: hi. this is larissa from swansons fish market. i just wanted to see what our outstanding balance was with you. man: it's $53,000. larissa: okay. how would you like to meet me at $35,000? man: that'd be a bit much after all this time. i couldn't go below $40,000. larissa: all we have is $35,000. i mean, we're just -- we're trying to, you know, get our pennies together and just pay off as much as we can, but that's all we could really do. lemonis: today. larissa: i would write a check for you today. man: certified check? larissa: certified check. man: all right -- $35,000. larissa: okay, thank you. thank you so much. lemonis: how much did you just get off? -larissa: i think $20,000. -lemonis: $20,000?
you're $20,000 closer to buying your building back. larissa: mm-hmm. lemonis: you did a great job, by the way. kickass. -larissa: thank you. -lemonis: so keep going. as i go through the case, talk me through what logic you have when putting stuff in certain places. spencer: i actually kind of try to keep it color-coordinated somewhat. lemonis: what's the number-one most-popular-selling item? -spencer: salmon. -lemonis: okay, where is that? spencer: it's right here. lemonis: right in the middle. you know when you go into a grocery store, where do they put the milk and the bread? -spencer: in the back. -lemonis: right. and so the sides are your back. and so the things that you sell every day, all the time -- you don't even have to work at it -- should go on the ends. and then the highest-margin stuff in the middle. 'cause this is what people are gonna look at first. so what i want to start doing is moving some stuff around. spencer: okay. lemonis: i'm gonna go through that case and make sure that every square inch has product that we can sell, it's presented properly,
and it now has room for prepared foods. that was down there. this is now here. gary: yeah. i mean, it looks great. sue: all right, come on. how is it that you can have a boat and get away with it and he's up my ass about the bmw? you know how i feel. it's a good car and how i feel safe driving it. so, now i'm wondering if... what do you think about getting rid of the boat where i don't have to get rid of my car? what does it actually cost you to put that boat in the marina? without repairs, $5,000 a year. gary: you want the car 'cause you want the car. sue: i don't want to find out that i'm gonna have to drive around in a smart car while you have the freaking boat that's been nothing but an expense, and i've been after you to sell it. gary: it's the only hobby i really have. sue: it's ridiculous! gary: to you, it is. you know what? you, it is.
sue: the amount of money -- $2,000 minimum. gary: i work for it. sue: a waste of money, that boat. you've had it. i've asked you year after year -- -gary: so was the bmw. -sue: [bleep] the bmw, okay? gary: blah, blah, blah. sue: [bleep] sick of it. lemonis: hey, guys. what are we talking about? gary: well, she wants to keep her bmw, so i should sell my boat. lemonis: i didn't know you had a boat. gary: yeah. lemonis: so, you didn't want me to see it? if your business is in trouble and you need my help, log on to...
lemonis: i didn't know you had a boat. gary: yeah. lemonis: so, you didn't want me to see it? gary: yeah, it wouldn't send a good message. lemonis: to who? gary: to anyone and everyone and you. lemonis: everybody else knows you have a boat, so that feels a little funky to me that you didn't feel like you could just be honest with me about it. the fact that i'm hearing that gary has a boat is outrageous information, and i'm not gonna lie to you -- it pissed me off. the fact is that he didn't want me to see it, and that bothers me more than the fact that he has the boat.
gary: the boat got swamped in a hurricane, and it got bought out by the insurance. i got a $70,000 check -- probably double the value of the boat. it hasn't been a huge expense. sue: minimum 5 grand for the season. minimum. at least i use the car for business reasons, okay? lemonis: do you deliver fish with it? sue: yeah, i've picked up shrimp and whatever. gary: no. you don't really do that. lemonis: the reality of it is is that i'm writing a check so that you guys can get stuff refinanced. your employees are taking money out of their pocket. you could see to the outsider how a boat and a bmw looks a little... sue, can you see how somebody would look at that or no? the bmw and the boat have to go, so i think that's... one of the ways i can make swansons more profitable is by taking their existing space
and getting more out of it. what's in here? paul: nothing. lemonis: ugh! it smells. we're not utilizing the space properly. i'm taking the old equipment out that was broken, and i'm bringing in new refrigeration. that's fine. i went out and spent $17,000 to buy new equipment that allows for great presentation of prepared foods. anything that's in that kind of container ready to roll -- prepared. spencer: okay. lemonis: salads pre-made -- boom. soups prepackaged -- done. nelson's next door preparing a number of different recipes that we're gonna sell at swansons grill, as well as in the prepared-food cases. -did you taste that? -gary: yeah, i did. i'm gonna taste it again. this is delicious. lemonis: i'm also adding fresh produce in the store 'cause customers may want to buy some vegetables to go along with their fish, increasing the amount they spend per visit. in the past, swansons was nothing more than a fresh-fish market. now you can buy prepared foods, you can buy produce, you can buy lunch or dinner next door, you can buy soup to go, both fresh and frozen --
lots of different options. all of that's gonna double the business here. i've spent over five days at swansons spread out over four weeks, and i'm finally back to see what sort of progress they've made. the first thing i see when i get there, is sue rolling up in her bmw, and what's worse, it's 12:00. that's not my definition of commitment, and that's not gonna fly. hey, sue. i guess the first thing for me, really, is when you say, "i'm gonna help you, i'm gonna be your backbone," you have to actually be that backbone. it doesn't look good that you show up late, it doesn't look good that you're driving the bmw. can you see my point at all? sue: oh, marcus, i don't feel like doing this. okay, marcus? lemonis: what do you mean, "okay"? you're asking these guys at the front to show up and take money out of their pocket and buy the shrimp and buy the fish, and you got a $500, $600 car payment.
and so when things get tough, you make sacrifices. you don't put yourself in front of the employees. sue: yeah, no, i've already explained it to you. i don't feel like going over it again. lemonis: you cannot be driving a luxury car. hey, sue. sue: i am not gonna get into any more discussions about the bmw. i'm done. i am [bleep] done. lemonis: i mean, i just don't understand why you think it's okay. sue: one more time, and i swear to you, i am gonna punch somebody in the face -if they mention the bmw again. -larissa: mom! no, seriously! lemonis: seriously, what? sue: i am sick of it -- of constantly being reminded or being reprimanded about this. lemonis: well, if you're not gonna give me the courtesy of discussing this, then we have no deal. because i didn't put my money down into a business so that you could do what you want. your daughter's driving a car that's older thyou, and she's doing all the work. -be committed to your family. -sue: i am. lemonis: no, you're not. you're showing up late. sue: i had a contractor at the house and the painters showed up. lemonis: did sue just tell me
that there's contractors at their house? remodeling? painters? bmws? boats? we're here trying to build a business. they're out rebuilding their house? how am i supposed to do business with people that aren't transparent? meeting with the painter's more important than being here with me? if it is, no problem. maybe the painter will give you a million dollars. look, if you have nothing to say, then i should just go. i'm sure you have some plan, 'cause you don't seem to be concerned about paying me back.
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to promote healthy blood sugar levels. so, start feeling lighter and more energetic by taking metamucil every day. i'm sure you have some plan, look, if you have nothing to say, then i should just go. 'cause you don't seem to be concerned about paying me back. larissa: i know you're upset, but look at this opportunity. why are you getting so angry? he's doing us a huge favor. you just, like, screamed at him. you should be grateful. don't you understand that? you just got to suck it up. like, he might back out on us, and i wouldn't be surprised. [ sighs ] lemonis: gary and sue called me here to help them fix their business. they told me they were in dire straits. but i'm learning that they're living a lifestyle that people that are in dire straits don't live.
so i'm going to town hall to find out if there's anything else i don't know. woman: good morning. may i help you? lemonis: i'd like to look up some public records. -woman: sure. come on over. -lemonis: okay. the clerk gave me access to the computer, which allowed me to see all the records on gary's realty since 1990. i can't believe what i'm learning. the swansons are actually in foreclosure right now. while i'm spending all this time and money getting prepared to buy the building... this started back in 2012. ...the bank is getting prepared to take the building back. the representations that gary and sue gave me regarding their building -- they're not accurate. this foreclosure action gives me a reason to not want to do the deal. now i feel like i need to confront gary. i'm tired of his misrepresentations and, quite frankly, i'm tired of his lies. over the time that we've been together, i've had to go fishing for information.
i've had to learn things on my own. things have come to light. you hid a boat from me. gary: i didn't hide the boat from you. lemonis: you told me that downstairs! you told me you didn't want me to know. gary: i didn't waanyone to know. lemonis: you got paid $75,000 from the insurance company. you told me the money went into the business. -gary: yes, it did. -lemonis: okay. and so i'm watching all these trails of money come from the insurance company and go into your business, and i can see the business is thriving downstairs. where is the money from all those people that are buying? gary: i think we explained that. lemonis: explain it again! gary: some of the cash goes for... -lemonis: personal bills. -gary: yeah. we've got to pay -- lemonis: just like the insurance claims. gary: yeah. lemonis: then when i go to buy a piece of property, i decided to run a title search. gary: right. lemonis: first thing that comes up is a lien. the second thing i have is a foreclosure action. gary: from kasowitz mortgage. lemonis: you never told me about this. -gary: [bleep] i didn't. -lemonis: [bleep] when? gary: you sat here at this desk when we called that guy up and told him we'll pay him tomorrow.
lemonis: but you didn't tell me that he was foreclosing. the foreclosure action started before i even got here! which means that documents were sent here notifying you that the foreclosure process was started. sue: we didn't see that. where are they? my bladder leak underwear.orried someone might see so, i switched. to always discreet boutique. its shape-hugging threads smooth out the back. so it fits better than depend. and no one notices. always discreet.
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gary: how come we didn't know about it? lemonis: how am i supposed to know? gary: we were behind a payment. lemonis: the guy can't foreclose if you're behind a payment. gary: and he hasn't foreclosed. lemonis: yes, he has. this is entered in the court. i got this from the city hall. gary: and you stood here and said we were gonna pay him off. lemonis: that's because i ran a title search and i found [bleep] that you didn't tell me about! gary: then why didn't you do the [bleep] search first? why didn't you do the goddamn search before? lemonis: because i took you at your word. gary: [bleep] lemonis: i don't negotiate with people and run background checks on them. -gary: [bleep] -lemonis: [bleep] my ass. gary: yeah, get the [bleep] out. lemonis: the deal's off. -sue: marcus -- -gary: get the [bleep] out. sue: marcus. lemonis: you know, i do business on handshakes, and i try to help people, and i do it to make money. there are a lot of struggling businesses out there -- not because they're taking money out of the till, not because they're spending it on lavish things that they shouldn't have, but because they genuinely are struggling. not all of them get my money, and not all of them get my time, but this one didn't deserve either.
they just flat-out lied. is your mortgage paid here? gary: yes. we're in good shape. lemonis: for that reason, i'm out. on "the profit"... jimmy: we are the best-kept secret in new jersey. lemonis: the food is amazing. ...great food isn't gonna be enough to keep this little new jersey restaurant afloat. you may have lost some business in those months. jimmy: lost half the business. it went back down to the numbers where we started. lemonis: this father-and-son team's complete lack of experience... this does not look like a financial statement. this is how a bookie keeps numbers. ...and motivation... does this sign look nice to you? dante: no. lemonis: all these weeds, all this trash, it feels like you really genuinely don't give a [bleep]. ...has them bleeding money year after year. jimmy: i don't think you know totally what to do. you don't know the laws. you don't know if you can handle this. lemonis: they'll need to learn the basics from the ground up. dante: we buy the pasta by the pound. we pay about $3.50 per -- lemonis: about or exactly?