Later today, my business partner Mickey and I are signing the papers to complete the sale of Stonefield Systems Group Inc. to a group of employees.
In case you weren’t aware, there are actually two Stonefields: Stonefield Systems Group Inc. (SSG) and Stonefield Software Inc. (SSI). (Actually, there are three: Stonefield Software USA is our U.S. operation.) SSG was created in 1991 (yes, that means the 20th anniversary is this year) by another business partner, and Mickey and I joined a few months later. SSG did all kinds of stuff: custom software development, Accpac (a popular accounting system now owned by Sage) sales and consulting, pharmacy software development and sales, IT stuff … basically, anything for a buck. Over the years, the business structure changed: Mickey and I bought out the other partners in 1995 and we refocused the business to just Accpac and software development. In 2000, we split off the software development side to Stonefield Software so SSG could focus exclusively on Accpac.
As a result, I’ve had very little to do with the day-to-day operations of SSG for over a decade. Several years ago, Mickey also decided to focus almost entirely on SSI so we handed the management reins to a general manager. So while we owned SSG and oversaw its general operation, neither of us was closely involved for quite some time.
A few years ago, a couple of long-time employees approached us with the idea of buying SSG from us. It took a while to make it happen, but later today it becomes a reality. Note that we are NOT selling SSI; it’s the business we’ve been focused on for a long time and will continue to do so. I’ve been working on Stonefield Query for more than a decade and will do so for (hopefully) another decade. I still write code every day and get grumpy when I don’t.
I have mixed feelings about selling SSG. Although it wasn’t my first company (I had a one-man company in the late 80s), it certainly was the one I was associated with the longest. So, there’s a bit of nostalgia at leaving something I spent so much time and effort building. However, I’m also very excited for the new owners, Connie, Bernie, and Rene. They’re young, have a lot of talent, and tons of new ideas about directions to take SSG in. The company is in great hands and the future is very bright. I’ll be watching happily to see how they make my old baby and their new one grow.