Monmouth Rubber & Plastics
John Bonforte, the owner and president of Monmouth Rubber & Plastics, a small private rubber manufacturing company in Long Branch, New Jersey, needed to decide whether to accept an offer from a potential buyer for the business. Monmouth had been a successful company with a strong family culture since John founded it in 1964, but now in 2008 there were a number of factors that gave him reason for concern and to consider whether it was time to sell. The world economy was showing signs of slowing down. Other rubber manufacturers were forced to close down. The long term sales forecast for Monmouth was not promising. Further, the city of Long Branch, which had been in decline for years, had established a redevelopment zone for the oceanfront and its adjacent neighborhoods in 1996. The city determined that it would invoke eminent domain for properties within the redevelopment zone in need of improvement. The private homeowners and commercial business owners who were located in the designated area, including Monmouth Rubber, were compelled to negotiate with a property developer that had been contracted by the city. Many property owners refused to sell, and the case was on appeal with the New Jersey Superior Court. This created significant uncertainty surrounding Monmouth Rubber's ability to remain in its current location. At 67, John could sell the business and retire. Although his son, John Jr., had been employed by Monmouth for several years and was the firm's sales manager, there was no formal succession plan. John Jr., however, had expressed an interest in taking over the business. With a lucrative offer on the table, John needed to consider the changing competitive landscape for the industry, the weakened economic conditions, and the eminent domain. This case is suitable for courses in family business management, and it can be especially useful as an introductory case or as a second case.