Slagle & Slagle Inc., a 33-year-old home services brokerage based in Roland Park, was sold this week to a young Atlanta-based company that is launching a nationwide franchising program using the Baltimore company as one of its ** prototypes.
"It was a great way to be out of debt and have some cash for the first time in my life," said Jacob "Jake" Slagle Jr., whose father started the family business in 1959. He declined to say how much he received for the sale of the company to Home Services Alliance Inc., which provides similar services.
Slagle & Slagle has 2,400 subscribers, each of whom pays a $25 annual membership fee for access to referrals. The company screens and provides referrals for contractors ranging from piano tuners to lawn cutters. It has been a mainstay in the lives of many Baltimore-area residents for years, and Mr. Slagle promised that its subscribers could continue counting on the company for the same level of service.
As part of what Mr. Slagle calls "a very attractive arrangement" consummated this week, he will remain with Home Services Alliance as a director of the growing company and also will be mid-Atlantic franchise director.
He will not, however, be associated with the day-to-day operations of the Baltimore business, to be known as Home Services Alliance.
The Atlanta-based company started as an offshoot of Electrolux Corp., a vacuum cleaner company, in 1989 when Dennis Johnson was chairman and chief executive of Electrolux. Mr. Johnson, 45, left Electrolux in 1990 and purchased a majority stake in Home Services.
After the purchase, Mr. Johnson said, he began developing plans to launch a franchise operation based on the home services brokerage concept developed through the Home Services model in Atlanta, which, like Slagle and Slagle, charges membership fees and receives payments from contractors to provide referrals.
Mr. Johnson said he and other officers of Home Services have been conducting "a dialogue" with Mr. Slagle since 1990.
L "We're infants in the franchise business," said Mr. Johnson.
The Baltimore office of Slagle & Slagle will remain under Home Services ownership. But Mr. Johnson said the company hopes to have 500 offices throughout the United States within five years. Home Services has sold three franchise operations, one in Atlanta and two in Florida.