250-word essay will determine new owner of established Largo business

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If you’ve ever wanted to own a small business, there’s one in Largo that’s practically being given away.

The owner of Simply Hydroponics and Organics is going to hand over his business to the person who writes the best essay, explaining why they want it.

It’s an unusual pitch, but it’s already getting a lot of attention.

Allan Bednar says he isn’t looking for the best writer. That’s not what this is about.

It’s about finding someone as passionate as he is to carry on this store and its legacy.

Bednar has run Simply Hydroponics and Organics for 25 years, but now he’s ready to move on.  

“It is going to be hard handing it off but at the same time I’ll feel much better knowing it’s the right person,” Bednar said.  “Somebody that has a passion [and] enthusiasm, someone that will treat our customers with the care they've been given all these years.”

To find that perfect replacement, Bednar has opened up an essay contest.

Writers are being asked to submit 250 words on why they would like to own a hydroponics store.

The entry fee is $100 and the winner will be the next owner.

He says the business itself is worth between $700,000 and $800,000.

“We figured this was a unique and different way to help handpick that person versus just putting it on the open market,” Bednar said.

The idea took root after he saw a bed and breakfast do the same thing in the northeast. 

The winning essay will be picked by a panel of impartial judges. The contest runs thru March 15. 

The winner will be announced on April 2.

”Hopefully the new owner will give me a decent discount,” he joked.

For information on the essay contest, visit simplyhydro.com/contest.htm.