After starting work at Reginald Ames during his school holidays back in 1997, Nick Gandon is now the proud owner of the tea importer-exporter and wholesaler following a management buyout.
The half million pound management buyout, struck with the help of national audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehill, has seen Reginald Ames relocate its offices in London to Tonbridge in Kent.
Having graduated from university, Nick joined the company on a short-term contract 13 years ago and became a director in 2004.
“I never escaped and became totally immersed in the world of tea,” said Nick, now aged 35.
Today Nick is driving forward the business’ growth in supplying large leaf pyramid tea bags.
“In 2010 we sold 100,000 pyramid bags. Now we are producing 150,000 a week and that figure is set to rise having recently secured a number of own-label deals for retailers and hoteliers,” added Nick.
“The team from Crowe Clark Whitehill has been with us at every step of the deal and has been incredibly helpful.
“Back in December 2011 I was close to signing a deal with a group of venture capaitalists. However, following advice from Geert Struyven we looked elsewhere for a more equitable deal. He subsequently introduced me to a number of other investors and I’ve been joined in writing the next chapter of Reginald Ames’ history by Konrad Legg, who has significant and invaluable experience in the tea and coffee industry.”
Geert Struyven, Corporate Finance Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, said:
“Through our contacts with many potential investors across Kent we were able to ensure that Nick got the best possible deal, and in Konrad Legg he has found a like-minded partner who shares his vision for the way forward for the company.
“The fact that Nick has relocated his company to Kent is great news for the local economy, and while it may only be small at the moment, I know he has plans to grow the business.”
Recognising the need for systems to support Reginald Ames’ vision, Crowe Clark Whitehill introduced a SAGE accounting system to the company, and is currently providing payroll services.
Nick, who lives in West Kent and used to commute every day to London Bridge, now has a ten minute walk to work.
He added: “Our workforce has doubled in the last year, and now all of the Reginald Ames employees who once commuted into London, are all closer to work and going against the flow thanks to our move to Tonbridge. Yet we remain within easy striking distance of London for meetings.”
Crowe Clark Whitehill has eight offices nationally, including offices in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone.