We hired a new employee to replace the one our competitor hired from us, and everyone assures me that we'll be just fine. He has a great track record and great references, and he brings a new energy to the team. As I've mentioned before, despite some efforts, I think our company does have a certain "stale" feeling to it, and new blood can be good.
While this brings a close to this situation with our competitor, we're basically back to having no prospects to buy our business. Again I have to wonder, will this competitor use the information that our business is for sale in any way? Will they tell our employee that just went to work for them? In theory those things are illegal, but there are a lot of ways to say things without saying them directly, and I'm regretting talking to our local competition about our business being for sale.
If I had this to do over again, I wouldn't talk to local businesses we strongly compete with. I'd tell our business broker to make up some excuse why this "mystery business" that is for sale doesn't want to talk to them, perhaps telling them that we don't like their business reputation, which wouldn't have been a lie in this case. (Where there's a difference between "reputation" and what someone or some thing actually is.)