After founding Denby Catering Equipment more than 20 years ago, managing director George Hartley is retiring and handing over the reins of the Wakefield-based business to former accounts and service manager Richard Garfitt following the completion of a Management Buy Out (MBO).
Richard, who is just 29, joined the business ten years ago in an office administration/purchase ledger role, going on to manage client accounts, developing extensive product knowledge and becoming involved in all aspects of the business’ operations, including project quotations and design.
The £1.8m turnover business comprises a team of experienced kitchen designers and project managers who specialise in the design, supply and installation of catering equipment for commercial kitchens, from one-off replacements to total re-fits. Their expertise includes supply of prime cooking equipment, kitchen ventilation and extraction systems, bespoke stainless steel fabrication, refrigeration (cold rooms and freezer room installation), and repairs, servicing and installations by their in-house Gas Safe registered team.
Denby Catering Equipment has established a strong track record working with local authorities across the UK to supply commercial kitchens in schools, colleges, universities and hospitals, as well as in care homes and sheltered housing accommodation. Its clients include Derbyshire County Council and Wakefield Council.
The deal, which completed on 5th June, was supported by Calvin Dexter from Calvin Dexter Financial Solutions in Leeds who acted as fundraising adviser for the MBO. The deal was funded by an SME loan from Mercia, with the Mercia team led by Mike Rogers. Legal advice to Garfitt-Robinson Holdings Limited was provided by Nicola Cooper of Clarion; with financial advice from Mark Spencer of Beaumonts Chartered Accountants in Wakefield.
Founder and former managing director George Hartley said: “Having spent the last 40 years in the catering sector, I have passed on as much knowledge as I can to Richard who joined us early in his career with the appetite and potential to learn, and has demonstrated he has the versatility to flourish in a company like this. He knows the business inside-out and his skills now cover our entire process – I am happy to be leaving Denby in his capable hands.
“Given Richard’s strong client relationships, it will be a seamless transition as the business moves into the next era. Congratulations to Richard and I wish him every success for a prosperous future.”
Richard Garfitt added: “George has built up a successful company which is a credit to his management skills, and I would like to thank him for his generosity and support as I have progressed through the business.
“Having established a niche serving the public sector, and a proven track record of meeting the exacting service required, we’re fortunate to work with such wonderful customers. Denby Catering Equipment provides work for numerous staff and sub-contractors and I am proud to be taking it forward.”
Calvin Dexter says: “This is an inspiring story, seeing a nineteen-year-old rise through the ranks to ultimately become the owner of the company is a real achievement. I am delighted to have been able to play a part in helping Richard to purchase, and George to exit, this longstanding and successful business. I wish both Richard and George well and look forward to watching the business go from strength to strength under Richard’s stewardship.”
Mike Rogers of Mercia added: “Denby has built a compelling reputation in the industry and a solid customer base in the region. In recent years Richard has played an integral role in its success. We are pleased to be able support this deal which will give him full control of the business as it enters the next stage of its growth journey.”
Mark Spencer comments: “Having worked with George throughout the Denby journey, I have seen George build a really successful business on the back of excellent personal service and customer relationships. His knowledge and experience has been passed over to Richard who has now taken over the reins and his enthusiasm, drive and ambition to grow the business will ensure continued success.”