Preston’s Home Handbooks expanding after buy-out
A firm that runs several local business directories is seeking full-time staff following a recent buyout.
Preston-based Home Handbooks operates six directories in the Greater Preston area on an 18-month cycle, with firms paying for mention within its pages.
It currently employs one full-time staff member and several seasonal roles but is seeking to expand after undergoing a management buyout with the help of a Rosebud loan.
It was started in 2010 by ex-Blackpool Gazette journalist Peter Ward and has recently been purchased by Preston businessman Danny Garratt, who also owns Preston Tuition Centre.
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Danny Garratt said: “I am keen to modernise the company’s website.
“There’s a generation of people that may not even look at the physical handbooks, a generation that will use both the website and the physical magazines, and a generation that will only use the handbook.
“We want to cater for everyone. We will look at how we could monetise the website and may take on an additional member of staff to operate it.
“I’m also keen to offer social media services to local businesses, and we may also look to employ somebody who can manage clients’ social media channels for a fee.”
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Garratt said they hope to gain a ‘couple of employees’ and seasonal staff to deliver the handbooks.
The MBO is funded with a £55,000 loan from Rosebud, used to invest in the growth of Home Handbooks over the coming years.
Rosebud is owned by Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL), a subsidiary of Lancashire County Council.
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It aims to support the growth of Lancashire businesses and the local economy, offering loans between £10,000 and £300,000 and ‘high-quality business support’.
Danny was introduced to Rosebud by Cassim Patel at Lancashire’s Access to Finance service, who approached Rosebud and arranged a meeting with Rosebud fund manager Jonathan Nelson.
Danny said: “Jonathan was keen to discover more about the business and understood the scope for growth.
“He was helpful throughout the application process and worked with me proactively to get the deal over the line.”
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Danny also wants to grow the business geographically.
He said there had been a demand for the handbooks in areas including Lytham and Lancaster, and the expansion would likely require the recruitment of an additional member of staff.
Jonathan Nelson, the fund manager at Rosebud, said: “Rosebud’s loans can be used to facilitate growth for Lancashire businesses in whichever way is most appropriate.
“For Home Handbooks, Danny’s purchase of the business from Peter has the potential to unlock expansion.
“I’m proud that Rosebud has been able to facilitate this deal, and l look forward to continuing to support Danny to grow the business over the coming years.”
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Businesses in Lancashire’s 12 local authority areas are eligible for the funding: Burnley; Chorley; Fylde; Hyndburn; Lancaster; Pendle; Preston; Ribble Valley; Rossendale; South Ribble; West Lancashire; Wyre.
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