It’s something that every small business owner must face eventually – who will carry on the business when it’s time to move on to the next chapter. The question of succession weighs especially heavy on family businesses whose businesses they have been but the most recent stewards of, carrying on a family legacy that spans generations. 

Throughout history, the preferred course of action has usually been to pass the family business down to, well, the family. But, particularly in today’s world filled with various options and opportunities elsewhere, there’s not always a family member ready to take the reins. What then? For Retail Merchants’ longtime Board Member and Distinguished Retailer of the Year recipient, Bill Selden, that next generation was from another family, albeit still the RMA “family.” Fellow RMA members, Ball Office Products officially signed a deal in August to take ownership of C.P.Dean.  

Founded in 1886 by Charles Preston Dean, The Selden family has owned C.P. Dean since 1903, when a young woodworker named William Selden III bought the store from Dean’s family after he suffered a fatal heart attack.

For 118 years, the Selden family has steered the billiards and gaming business through an evolving world, changing consumer behavior, prosperous times, and not so prosperous times for the nation and the company. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a renewed focus on old-school home entertainment options, meaning the time is right for Bill Selden to leave while on top. 

C.P. Dean has always been a community-centric business. Originally located on Governor’s Street, adjacent to the Capital, its growth has been inextricably intertwined with the city. The Seldens have always been committed to giving back to the community that has supported the business. It’s a value shared by so many Retail Merchants member businesses, and one of particular significance to Ball Office Products. 

Like Bill Selden, Melissa Ball has been a Retail Merchants Board Member for years, graciously giving her time in support of the Richmond small business community. Slightly newer than C.P. Dean, Melissa Ball founded Ball Office Products in 2000 with her husband, Jonathan, but the company has quickly become a Richmond staple. Known as the cookie people for the perfectly cooked cookies that come standard with every delivery, Ball trucks can be seen all over town helping to keep fellow small, and large, businesses well stocked and running. 

Moving forward, and in keeping with family businesses, it’s the next generation, the Balls’ 22-year old daughter, Sarah, who will be taking the reigns at C.P. Dean, leading the Richmond legacy into the 2020s and beyond.