Light & Raphael in the News


(L-R) Wayne Light and Gavin Raphael own Light & Raphael, a business brokerage firm Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Light & Raphael LLC

What is it?: Business brokerage firm

Location: 4825 Radford Ave., Suite 102

Employees: None, just owners

Owners: Wayne Light and Gavin Raphael

Contact: (804) 355-2445 or

Posted: Sunday, April 12, 2015 10:30 pm

By Joan Tupponce Special correspondent

Laurent Claudel worked with the business brokerage firm Light & Raphael when he purchased Ashland-based Mid Atlantic Manufacturing, a solid surface and laminate countertops producer, this January.

Claudel appreciated Light & Raphael’s professionalism during the transaction.

“They had the right balance between protecting their client (the seller) and working with me to make this deal go through,” he said. “They did what they had to do for both parties to make it happen. It was a very pleasant experience.”

The Richmond-based business brokerage firm has seen a large uptick in sellers since Jan. 1.

“We have landed five businesses that we have listed for sale since that time,” said co-owner Gavin Raphael. “We are talking with a lot of good businesses now. Sellers are very active, and in the last few months, buyer interest has also picked up.”

The company specializes in acquisitions, mergers, dispositions and financing. It also does formal valuations of closely held private companies.

Clients include potential buyers and sellers of privately held businesses with gross revenues between $500,000 and $10 million.

“We work with a variety of companies, from recruiting, bookkeeping and landscaping firms to manufacturing, construction and retail companies,” Raphael said.

“We have had leads from all of those in the last six to nine months.”

The company is currently working on approximately 15 deals that include the sale of a bookkeeping business, a bridal salon and formalwear boutique, a light manufacturing business and a wedding and event venue.

“Usually the sellers are looking to retire,” Raphael said. “Occasionally they will want to focus on other businesses they own, or sometimes there has been a death in the family. Currently we are seeing a lot of baby boomers that want to retire.”

Most of the company’s clients are in central Virginia.

“Our key area is from Williamsburg to Charlottesville and from Richmond to Fredericksburg,” Raphael said. “We do also sell businesses along the East Coast. We currently have businesses listed for sale in Delaware and Pennsylvania.”

Wayne Light and Jerry VanAusdall founded the company in 1966 as Light-VanAusdall. Light became sole owner in 1991 and brought Raphael into the company as a co-owner in 2014.

“I’m 77 years old,” Light said. “I have been thinking about retirement.”

Before joining the company, Raphael spent 15 years in the financial services industry, working in mergers and acquisitions, research, strategic planning and financial analysis.

“I was looking to buy a business, but I didn’t see anything of interest to me,” he said. “I saw that mergers and acquisitions were gaining steam, and I had the opportunity to partner with Wayne. My marketing, financial (and) analysis background was conducive to this type of business.”

Light had owned or managed more than 50 businesses when he started the company.

“There are not that many brokers that have owned businesses themselves,” Light said. “That experience teaches you how a buyer feels as well as how a seller feels. It helps you to understand those feelings.”

Over the years, the company has sold businesses up and down the East Coast.

“I’ve sold businesses from Louisiana all the way to New York,” Light said. “I sold a lot of franchised Coffee Beanery shops on the East Coast, as well as a lot of computer stores in malls up and down the East Coast.”

The company gets its referrals from certified public accountants, financial advisers, investment bankers, commercial real estate agents, lawyers and bankers.

In the past, it listed businesses for sale in major newspapers. Today, it also uses Internet business-for-sale marketplaces, such as or

All the company’s documents for buyers and sellers are automated online.

“That has been a big help in terms of workflow,” Raphael said.

Certified public accountant Chris Cantara in Henrico appreciated the company’s follow-through when he bought a bookkeeping firm.

“They were on top of things from the beginning,” he said. “Once I had a deal, they stayed involved through the whole process to make sure everything went smoothly.”

Business attorney Andy Lingle in Richmond has been working with the company for almost 20 years.

“They do a very good job for our clients when they need a business listing,” he said. “When a seller comes to them, they do an in-depth analysis of the business. They put together a nice package to give to perspective buyers. They have a good understanding of the business and its underpinnings. That is a real benefit to our customers.”

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