When reached by telephone on Friday morning Mr. Aimers said it was a "great" day for himself and the brand he's built for nearly a decade.
"I've been working on this deal for about a year," he told OBJ. He said he's ensured that the new owners respect the Works concept - smaller stores in or near busy residential neighbourhoods, and a positive environment for employees.
"One of the absolute criteria in getting to know fresh brands is that they would take care of the brand and the concept, but also take care of the crew that run the place so admirably," he said, adding half of his 30-member management team have been with the company for at least five years.
"That's very rare in our industry," he added.
While Mr. Aimers wouldn't comment on the record on how much the deal was worth, he did acknowledge that "I wasn't going to give it away."
He said the members of Fresh Brands Inc. have Ottawa roots and "understand our philosophy.
"They understand it's all about people. They understand about not having TVs in the restaurant. They understand they should close at 10 and not have a bar in the restaurant. And they understand that without great people, the concept won't go anywhere."
Mr. Aimers said Fresh Brands has the relevant experience to roll out the brand across Canada, but referred questions on the company's background to president and CEO Andy O'Brien, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mr Aimers did say that he plans to be a consultant to Fresh Brands as they open their first few Works stores in other cities, with the first target being the Greater Toronto Area.
Established in 2001, Mr. Aimers grew the business from one store in the Beechwood area to six stores across the Ottawa region.
The restaurant chain has received numerous OBJ distinctions, including Employees Choice Awards from 2006 to 2008 and being named one of OBJ's Fastest Growing Companies from 2007 to 2009.
The company also won first place in OBJ's Pitch the Dragons contest at the 2009 Ottawa Business Summit, which featured panelist Robert Herjavec of CBC's Dragons' Den.
In a release, representatives from Fresh Brands Inc. said they plan to "aggressively" expand the brand "across Canada."
“The combination of a well developed concept and a profitable track record, make The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro an ideal business for expansion” said Mr. O’Brien in a release.
Mr. Aimers still has interests in pizza restaurant ZaZaZa and the Fraser Cafe, but he said he's also looking forward to spending more time with family and friends.
And though it's been a wild ride for Mr. Aimers since that first store opened in 2001, he said he's not feeling wistful about the deal.
"I always knew I would have to say goodbye someday," he said.