BGF backs artisan coffee and food shop Bob & Berts’ entry into Scotland

Bob & Berts - founders Colin McClean (left) and David Ferguson with BGF investor Gemma Hamilton

Bob & Berts, the Northern Irish artisan coffee and food shop, has selected Falkirk, Dunfermline and Stirling as its first Scottish locations, creating 30 jobs as it steams ahead with its expansion, fuelled by the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

The company is fitting out premises on the High Street in Falkirk for its maiden Scottish store, which is due to open at the end of this month (September).

Attention will then shift to the High Street in Dunfermline, where the firm is on course to open a shop at the end of October, followed by Stirling. A number of other local community focused locations across Scotland are currently in negotiation.

Bob & Berts raised £2 million of patient capital from BGF in August 2017 to fund the business’ entry into Scotland and further growth in Northern Ireland.

BGF backs artisan coffee and food shop Bob & Berts’ entry into Scotland

As part of the BGF deal, industry stalwart Mohan Mansigani – a former chief finance officer at Costa Coffee and Casual Dining Group – joined the board as non-executive chairman.

The brand is serving up ambitious expansion plans to open a further 30 stores and create 600 full- and part-time jobs over the next four years, with around 20 of the shops and 400 of the jobs in Scotland.

The brand is already well-established in its home market in Northern Ireland, with its 18th store opening soon, in Magherafelt, following the success of its first branch in Belfast, which began welcoming customers in May.

Gemma Hamilton, an investor at BGF who is on the board of Bob & Berts, said: “We have all seen the significant growth in the coffee shop market in recent years, but what sets Bob & Berts apart is the relaxing and fun atmosphere in its stores and the wide selection of quality fresh food that it offers to its customers – Bob & Berts caters for everyone.

“Each store has a more individual and friendly feel to it than the big chains and I believe that’s why Bob & Berts has been so successful in Northern Ireland.

“It is an absolute pleasure working with Colin and David and BGF is looking forward to supporting its expansion across Scotland.”

Bob & Berts was founded in 2013 by Colin McClean before being joined by his brother-in-law David Ferguson in 2015.

The team has opened ten shops in the past two years and is also eyeing expansion into the Republic of Ireland.

Colin McClean, co-owner of Bob & Berts, said: “BGF has been a great partner for us and the skills held by the members of its team have complemented our own. We are excited to be bringing our business to Scotland having spent time immersing ourselves in so many different locations and active communities.

“We’re recruiting an area manager, along with managers, chefs, supervisors, baristas and deli counter staff, and anyone interested in applying can get in touch through or”

An established and independent company, BGF has £2.5 billion to support a range of growing companies – early stage, growth stage and quoted – across every region and sector of the economy.

In return for an initial investment of typically between £1m and £10m, BGF takes a minority equity stake in the business.

The company can also provide follow-on investment and access to its Talent Network of business leaders who can give advice to its portfolio of companies.

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