I was recently analyzing the Google+ Local account for a new jewelry store. The owners bought the previous bead store that was at that location and remodeled it into a new jewelry store. My analysis discovered a situation I'd not yet seen, or in fact, even envisioned. Of course, that makes it a perfect topic for a Daily Golden Nugget!
It's obvious that every new business needs to design their store and stock their shelves with merchandise. Before you even get to that step, the business needs to get a local business license, a certificate of occupancy for their address, and they need to call the phone company for a phone number.
What might not yet be obvious is the need for every new business to also register their store address with Google using the Google My Business interface. This registration process will verify your phone number and address, and get you started on Google Maps and Google+. Google mails post cards to new businesses to verify their address.
What's especially interesting about the situation I came across is that the new store took ownership of all the Google accounts from the previous store. Instead of setting up a new account they simply changed the name of the old business through the Google My Business interface.
In order to prevent spamming or unauthorized business information changes, Google sometimes mandates a new post card verification after changes are made to a business name and address. Of course the reverification is easy if you're taking over the business location of a previous store.
What the new owner didn't realize is that the old bead store has existing online reviews, and they were not very good. Some of those reviews dated back 5 years and complained about poor customer service. Certainly these reviews were not applicable to the new store, but there's no way to delete them. This brand new store now has unusual negative reviews that predate their grand opening.
In this situation, the correct approach would have been to take over the Google account and notify Google that the old store is permanently closed. Google would eventually remove the old store information from Google+ and Maps, but in the mean time you will be able to register the new store at the same address. Although once previously allowed, Google no longer lets multiple businesses use the same address, so you have to close the previous account before setting up the new one.
In addition to this situation, there are similar cases when a jeweler retires and sells the business to an employee or someone new, and the new owner keeps the same store name, same business model, and same level of service. In this case, there's no need to change the Google+ Local information and the Google account should be included in the terms of the business transfer and continuation of business.
On the other hand, the new owners will have to take action if the Google reviews are riddled with bad comments. Unfortunately Google doesn't provide a way to wipe out old review on the basis that the business is under new management or ownership, so if you are keeping the same name you need to write replies to all those reviews.
You could start out by simply replying to the comments with a simple statement of "The store is under new ownership as of January 20, 2015."
However, if the online reviews are really bad, it might be in your best interest to rebrand the store name slightly. For example, you could change the name form "Perosi Jewelers" to "Perosi Diamonds & Jewelry."
There are more concerns other than the online reviews. If the previous owners were active on Google+ then you would lose all that social traffic when you rebrand and start with a new account.
Buying a business and reformatting it into your own dream is not easy and you really need to weigh all your options with regard to the existing Google account. Get the opinion of your internet and marketing agency before you take action.