We like to buy all or a portion of exceptional businesses
that are a testament to their founders' character,
hard work, and market success.
We like to buy all or a portion of exceptional businesses
Who We Are
Jordan Mollenhour and Dustin Gross have worked together since 2004 to start, grow, and invest in businesses in a variety of industries. Some of those businesses have failed and others have prospered. Throughout the worst of times and the best of times, Jordan and Dustin have remained committed to learning, to improving, and to becoming the types of people they themselves would want to be in business with: competent, honest, and upbeat.
The Mollenhour Gross approach to investing begins with Jordan and Dustin’s years of experience as entrepreneurs, who themselves grappled with the daily trials and tribulations of running a business. It’s easy for them to relate to most business owners, as they’ve personally experienced the devastating lows of a hard-hitting financial crisis and the exhilarating highs of fast growth – and plenty of the monotony in between – all from a front-row seat in the trenches.
These experiences and others helped forge Jordan and Dustin into the partners and investors they are today. They think and invest with a long future in mind and they invest in and rely on exceptional people to lead, manage, and grow their portfolio companies. If you own a business that you have an interest in selling, please take a moment to read our open letter to you and to others who have similarly earned our respect.
Who We Aren't
We aren’t looking for start-up ideas, innovation, and hope – although we admire them.
We aren’t “go big or go home” and we don’t place bets – although we recognize it’s wildly successful for others.
We don’t plan to leverage up your business, invade it with MBAs, overhaul it, and then unload it in 5-7 years – although we’re happy to provide a long term, stable home from those who have.
We don’t have MBAs and consultants at the ready to transform your creation – in fact, we wouldn’t be interested if we didn’t like what we already see.
We’re not smart enough to overcome complex and difficult problems – we prefer to avoid them when we can.
We aren’t looking to force people into actions or relationships – if you don’t want to partner with us, the feeling is mutual.
We aren’t trying to “buy low and sell high.” As long as your business is successful and enjoyable, with few exceptions, we’re inclined to pass it down with our estate.
We aren’t beholden to investors or capital calls and we aren’t restricted by portfolio allocation fences – we enjoy the flexibility of broad and rapid decisions.
We don’t care about quarterly earnings (we prefer time horizons of decades and generations) and we aren’t burdened by irrational red tape and compliance.
What Others Say
My wife and I spent 5 years building a business that we then sold to Jordan and Dustin. We are proud of what we built and how it continues to serve the same customers to this day. Throughout the entire transaction and even afterwards, Jordan and Dustin did everything they said they would do and with utmost integrity. At the final settlement, they even paid us more than what we told them was owed because they determined the correct amount to be higher. We did not know about the miscalculation until their wire transfer was in our bank account. We could not have asked for a better group of people to buy our business.
With 64 years of business experience, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with many professionals along the way. To be successful, you must constantly surround yourself with good people. Regardless of what field or industry — the people are what make the difference
Jordan and Dustin are two of the most principled, reliable, and hard-working businessmen I have encountered. Leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, Clayton Bank and Trust partnered with Jordan and Dustin as a lender to their real estate company. During those difficult times, a payment was never missed and a promise was never broken. Clayton Bank and Trust is appreciative of the long-standing relationship with Jordan and Dustin, two men whose word is gold.
I’ve been the President of a wholly-owned subsidiary of theirs since May 2013. Since then, I have been happily surprised by the combination of support and autonomy that I have received from Dustin and Jordan. Spending the previous 10 years as a business management consultant for some of the largest corporations in America, I have the benefit of seeing the stark contrast between how they run their companies as compared to many other businesses operating today.
They genuinely care about their teams and go far beyond the norm to encourage the personal and professional growth of everyone that works for them. Their intense, high energy, entrepreneurial drive is contagious and makes “work” a lot of fun for me and my team. I trust their motivations and judgment unwaveringly and look forward to the years of profitable growth we are going to share together.
In 2014, Jordan and his team purchased a family-run business operated by two of my clients. Although I was on the opposite side of the table from Jordan, he was a pleasure to do business with. He communicated clearly and consistently throughout the sale process and always acted in good faith and on deadline. We could believe in their offer because they delivered on every promise. When issues surfaced, Jordan was always ready to tackle the problem with a calm, methodical, problem-solving mind set. His team was also super organized and reliable. In my 35+ year career in M&A, I have met few executives with the integrity and work ethic of Jordan and his team. I look forward to working with Jordan’s group again in the near future.
I’ve worked closely with Jordan and Dustin since the Fall of 2007 and have closely observed them through good times of profitable growth and through very bad market conditions. They have been consistent in honoring their commitments even when it was extremely costly to do so during the depths of the financial crises. They have always been honest, rational, and fair to work with.
As the CEO of a business they own and control, they have given me virtually free reign to operate the business in the direction I wish to lead it with few exceptions that have always been rational, dependable, and fair. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with Jordan and Dustin as they have created an environment that has allowed me to personally grow and develop into a better leader due in part to their ability to allow me to fail forward at times. I couldn’t ask for a better balance of predictability, support, and stability to build a business and brand over the long-term.
Selling my business to Jordan and Dustin in 2013 was one of the best decisions I ever made. I spent 30 years building my company before the sale and was looking for a way to exit so that I could slow down and enjoy an early retirement in sunny Florida. We closed only 10 days after the contract was signed and I got paid in full that day. It was a pleasant, fair, and seamless transaction that could not have gone any better. I keep in touch with them even now and consider them friends.
I first met Dustin in 2012 through a local network for entrepreneurs. We were both part of a confidential, peer-sharing program comprised of business owners that met monthly to candidly discuss the crucial aspects of our lives and businesses. It didn’t take me long to discover that Dustin is frank, insightful, and intense with an impeccable character. Over the years I have been continually impressed by Dustin’s business acumen and the focus he has on building profitable ventures. I’ve also found him to be dependable and trustworthy as well; when he says he’s going to do something, he does it.
Dustin and Jordan have had a relationship with Pinnacle Bank for several years. During that time I have had the opportunity to get to know them and talk at length with them about the way they approach business. I have found them to be thoughtful, experienced, and extremely mindful of the need to attend to detail. They are logical in their thought processes and are good at communicating what they are trying to create in their businesses and why they are building their businesses the way they are.
I have known Dustin since 2007; during that time, we have done business together, our families have vacationed together, and I have observed him in a wide range of situations and circumstances – both financial and personal. I have had the opportunity to watch him while his businesses were pummeled by the financial crisis - and when they have experienced significant prosperity and growth. Through it all, I have never known him to break a commitment (even when costly and easy to justify). He has been consistently family-oriented, unpretentious, and always conducted himself with the utmost integrity.
Having served as Jordan Mollenhour’s b-school faculty mentor since 2005, I am honored to provide this reference for him. Together, we navigated the talent development journey from graduate student, entrepreneur, manager to now, investor. During this period, Jordan earned my trust and respect with his ever-present commitment to personal standards of excellence for himself and for those around him.
During my two careers spanning 48 years as a corporate executive and now graduate school faculty member, I do not recall any individual more deserving of my praise. As a creator of long-term business value, Jordan is a focused, skilled leader with a determined work ethic and yet, great humility. His critical thinking skills afford him the keen ability to seek and implement successful business models. Like others, I enjoy being on Jordan’s team as I know sustainable business value will be created.
This is a short story (all true) with a happy ending. I’ve been a hard worker all my life, spending 29 years with a Fortune 500 company in manufacturing for the auto/heavy truck market. Very early in my career, I decided that one of two things might happen: they might decide they didn’t want me any longer, or I might decide that I wanted something different. That revelation caused me to start my own part-time business in 1982.
Over the next 20+ years
Over the next 20+ years the business grew steadily, and I finally decided to leave the corporate job and run my own business full-time. Sales quadrupled in the next four years, so it was definitely a good decision.
After 10 years of full-time operation, with me in my late 60s, I started to think about selling the company. We had targeted a specific niche in the market, sales had grown, and profits were great! I contacted a business valuation specialist to get an idea what the company might be worth, and then contacted several potential buyers. Over the next few months several offers came in, but none seemed adequate to compensate me for three decades of work growing a part-time hobby into a very profitable business.
Then, on a Friday morning, the phone rang. It was Jordan. He asked if I had ever considered selling the business, and I said “Yes, but I haven’t received the right offer yet!” Four days later Jordan was in my warehouse, looking over the inventory and asking a lot of questions. Very soon we established a mutual trust, where he knew that I was telling him the truth about my company, and I knew that he was interested and able to purchase my company, if we could reach agreement on the terms. Over the next few months we exchanged lots of information, and I visited one of the Mollenhour Gross businesses in Tennessee, where I met the CEO and other managers of the company. I was totally amazed at the professionalism of the people, and the efficiency of their operation. It was absolutely state-of-the art! On par with or better than anything I had seen while working for a billion-dollar Fortune 500 company. To say that I was impressed is an understatement.
Jordan made a cash offer to purchase my company, which was for fair market value, and did not include some of the glitches that had been included in earlier offers from other potential buyers. I had my attorney review the offer, and hired a CPA with experience in buying and selling businesses. My CPA made some suggestions to change the offer which would reduce my tax burden, and the Mollenhour Gross folks were more than happy to oblige. Throughout the meetings and negotiations, Jordan and others in their company treated me with respect, and showed me how much they valued my company, and also my opinions and input as the transfer of ownership happened.
Once the sale was completed, there were still several obligations which I had agreed to accomplish. As I completed each task, they fulfilled their commitment to compensate me as agreed upon, with never a question or problem. The entire process lasted approximately five months, and after each meeting, I came away feeling like it was a blessing that Mollenhour Gross was interested in purchasing my business. I have the highest respect for their management team, and specifically for Jordan. If you own a successful business, and Jordan contacts you, I guarantee that you will be treated honestly, and with respect, and you will not be disappointed with the outcome!
What We Want
Established, successful, predictable, simple businesses.
We aren’t equipped to solve complex problems or fix train wrecks. We’re looking for a proven track record of success that we can understand.
Frugal and conservative cultures.
Our grandfathers were debt averse and penny conscious; we’ve learned why. We admire and respect people with this old-school attitude towards finance and expense accounts.
Honest and humble owners & operators.
We’re hardworking and ambitious, but we’re also unpretentious and eager to learn. Life is too short and complicated to be contentious and arrogant.
Capable and honest management.
We don’t have a stable of MBAs to optimize your business after you sell it to us. We’re looking for management that loves the business and can continue to grow your business after you’ve sold it to us.
What We Do
Investments and Acquisitions
We are sincerely grateful to each of the fine people who are the founders, entrepreneurs, managers, and business leaders responsible for the brands shown below. We have had the privilege and good fortune of making investments in their future success and as investors, we give deference to their integrity and good judgment as they continue to lead their teams and serve their respective customers and clients each day. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we also admire their hard work and their commitment to providing world-class products, services, and solutions.
Investments We Manage
As entrepreneurs, we continue to personally manage occasional investments in real estate, public securities, specialty loans, and other (sometimes unusual) assets. While we welcome opportunities to make such investments, our foremost objective remains to buy or invest (long-term) in operating businesses that are actively managed by independent teams of talented, trustworthy, and respectable folks.
|11409 Municipal Center Drive,
Knoxville, Tennessee 37933-1434