We supported Cowell’s Garden Centre with site acquisition

A flourishing North East garden centre has secured its long-term future and safeguarded up to 50 jobs after acquiring its Woolsington site as the family firm celebrates four decades in business.

The award-winning Cowell’s Garden Centre was was established in 1978 by Alan and Mavis Cowell. They were left facing an uncertain future with the end of the business’ current tenure drawing closer. The landlord was also pursuing plans to develop the site for residential housing.

In 2012, the search to secure a new home began after seeking guidance from Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP (GBLF). Co-directors Martin Cowell and Jane Keating, Alan and Mavis’ children, and financial controller Darren Woodmass run the business.

GBLF identified the opportunity to purchase the site and Gerald Eve negotiated the terms. The garden centre then brought in the Tait Walker team to support GBLF on the deal. Gordon Brown led on the legal due diligence, legal deal structuring and documentation. Our Associate Partner, Paul Shields, provided strategic advice and brought in our team of transaction experts led by Chris McCourt and Claire Smailes. They introduced the opportunity to HSBC Bank plc and provided commercial and specialist tax input into negotiating the purchase agreement.

Martin said:

“Following a long period of uncertainty for the business, we can now call Woolsington our permanent home. We are extremely grateful to our team of trusted advisors at GBLF, Tait Walker and HSBC. They all worked seamlessly as a team to help us navigate what was a complicated process. Working in such a collaborative way was integral to ensuring we were able to acquire the site. We are very thankful to our dedicated team as well as the local community who have supported us.

“We are delighted to have been able to safeguard the future of the business and our employees’ livelihoods as we celebrate four great decades, and we look ahead to the next 40 years, and beyond.

“Securing the site forms a key part of our strategic growth plan. It will allow the business to thrive as we further expand our range of plants and nursery products over the next three to five years, whilst creating new jobs.”

The successful family business produces over 60,000 plants per year and has bloomed from its humble beginnings. They sold plants and fertilizer in a Kenton Bank Foot post office before being housed in the nine-acre Woolsington site. Three generations of the Cowell family have helped the business to grow.

Paul Shields, our Associate Partner, said:

“Having worked with the Cowell family for many years providing business and financial advice, we were pleased to be able to support with the acquisition of the company’s Woolsington site. Although it was a complex transaction, by working so closely with the team at Cowells, GBLF and HSBC at every stage of the process we were able to deliver the best deal possible for the business.

“This deal gives Cowell’s the peace of mind and flexibility to grow and bring more jobs to the area. If they had they not been able to secure the site, they wouldn’t have been able to do this. We wish the business a successful future as it invests in its premises.”

Gordon Brown, consultant at GBLF, added:

“I am pleased to have instigated the acquisition of the Woolsington site by the Cowell family. After nearly four decades working in law, this deal epitomises the great pleasure that being a business’ trusted legal advisor can bring.”

Martin Glaholm, relationship manager for HSBC in the North East, said:

“We place great importance on supporting local businesses, communities and economies. We are delighted to support a successful, long-standing family business such as Cowell’s in helping them secure a new home for the business and provide the platform it needed to flourish going forward.”

Cowell’s Garden Centre has built up an excellent reputation. They offer one of the biggest selection of plants and garden accessories in the North East of England. Cowell’s have won gold medals at events such as the Chelsea Flower Show for their hanging baskets and the business has been awarded the prestigious Garden Centre of the Year Award by the Garden Centre Association. They have also won the Ruxley Rose Award for best plant area.