ONE OF Harrogate’s longest-established vehicle service and MOT testing centres has been acquired in a management buy out.
Western Garage, Valley Mount, Harrogate, which is thought to date back to before World War I, has been acquired by its manager for the last 11 years, Paul Atkinson, and mechanic, Andy Barker, who joined two years ago in a deal backed by Yorkshire Bank’s Harrogate Financial Solutions Centre (FSC), James Street.
The two new directors have acquired the business, which has more than 2,000 regular customers, from previous owner, John Greenwood, who ran the garage for more than 30 years, for a significant but undisclosed sum.
The acquisition includes the garage and its premises and equipment, the business it services and a three-bedroom flat above.
Paul Atkinson, 51, who lives in Knaresborough, says: “This deal was always part of John Greenwood’s succession strategy. It allows him to retire comfortably on the proceeds of the sale and enables Andy and me to continue with the fine business where we both work.
“This is a very good solid business with an excellent reputation and loyal customers. It is also in a great location within walking distance of the town centre and many customers drop their cars off for attention and go to do their shopping.
“As far as our customers are concerned, it will remain business as usual. We have always won work through recommendation and are confident that that will continue to be the case as we move things forward. Yorkshire Bank was very helpful and we were pleased to secure funding from them at a time when many banks are not lending.”
Western Garage, which is due to take on another apprentice, caters for all makes and models of cars for MOT testing, services, air conditioning, tyres, servicing and diagnostic tests and works in tandem with other specialists including local body shop ventures.
Yorkshire Bank Harrogate FSC business partner Andy Hay, says: “I am sure that Western Garage is a very good local business because they service my own car. We are very pleased to have completed this deal and help hand the company on to a new generation. We are very much open for business and ready to fund the right deal for successful trading companies.”
The deal was supported entirely by local professional advisors. Chris Garside of the Harrogate office of McCormick’s provided legal advice to Paul Atkinson and Andy Barker, while Caroline Acton of Berwins, represented John Greenwood. Andrew Jackson of Knaresborough-based accountants Hayward & Co advised the new owners on financial and taxation aspects of the management buy out.
Yorkshire Bank’s Harrogate FSC is part of the bank’s North Yorkshire FSC which covers the whole of York and North Yorkshire and has 35 staff including the biggest specialist agri-banking team in the bank’s UK network.