Press 1 to make a deal

Cottrell Communications, a telecommunications company that installs business telephone systems, has acquired a chunk of one of its primary competitors.

Preston Cottrell, owner of Cottrell Communications, said he purchased the assets of A&J Technologies’ telephone business for an undisclosed amount of cash.

“The timing was right for them to merge their assets with someone who had a full-time focus. Their direction seemed to change, and they wanted to dispose of the telephone side of their business,” Cottrell said.

Cottrell specializes in business phone systems, which include features such as dial-by-name directories and voicemail systems.

The deal increased Cottrell’s customer base by 50 percent, from 2,000 to 3,000 customers in the Richmond area. Cottrell also received trucks and inventory from A&J, as well as five employees to add to its staff of 18.

It didn’t take long to close the deal. Talks began in early December, and before the month was out, A&J was paid.

“Short and sweet, brother,” said Cottrell, who started his business from his attic more than two decades ago.

Cottrell started his company in 1983, a year before A&J was founded. Both companies were authorized dealers of NEC brand equipment; Cottrell said his has been among the top 10 percent of dealers nationwide since starting the company. The company’s headquarters is located on Impala Drive in Henrico County.

A&J is still open for business; Cottrell said they were continuing with their other divisions. The owner could not be reached for comment by deadline. According to its website, A&J also provides structured cabling and networking services.

As far as sales go, Cottrell said they are doing relatively well despite the sluggish economy.

“We’re selling phone systems like they are going out of style,” Cottrell said. “This is going to create a whole lot of additional opportunities. We have a whole other 1,000 customers needing things.”

Al Harris is a BizSense reporter. Please send news tips to [email protected]

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