Snowdrop Independent Living, a mobility dealer with three outlets in South Wales, has received financial backing to expand its retail footprint and team.
The dealer completed a management buyout (MBO) earlier this month, supported by £500,000 equity investment from the Development Bank of Wales, which it will use to build upon its three showrooms in Haverfordwest, Swansea and Penarth.
Snowdrop was founded by Peter O’Shea, who will remain at the business following the MBO, and has been trading in mobility aids, specialist seating and stairlifts for 20 years.
Managing director David Morgan and chairman Kevin Bounds led the MBO alongside four existing staff members. It currently has 22 members of staff and plans to almost double its team following the MBO.
Snowdrop’s new management team is now looking to grow the business with more showrooms, greater social media marketing and the introduction of new technology providing better customer service.
David Morgan said that he was looking for a business that “did something useful”.
“Snowdrop makes people’s lives better and that seems to me like a pretty good way to spend your day,” he said.
“We met with senior managers and built the buyout team. The Development Bank of Wales guided us on how to build a proposal that would work for us and the bank. The help and advice offered and gratefully accepted through this stage helped us get the MBO over the line.”
Senior investment executive Stephen Galvin, who led the transaction with investment executive Navid Falatoori, said: “We invested in this business because we liked the management team’s plan to capitalise on the sector’s demographics.
“Snowdrop is developing an offering which improves mobility for an ever-increasing ageing population and we wanted to be part of that.
“We strengthened the management team, adding to the existing resources by bringing in the experience of David and Kevin, making it a robust and confident MBO team.
“The development bank is keen to ensure that management teams have succession funding to help them take over strong community-based businesses like Snowdrop.
“We are further encouraged that the previous owner, Peter O’Shea, is remaining in the business as it grows, alongside all existing staff members.
“As they open new outlets, this will also create more jobs. Our endorsement now means that Snowdrop is able to boast a highly experienced management team with strong ambitions and a focus on growth.”
Snowdrop’s financial backing marks the second time in the space of a year where the Development Bank of Wales has supported a mobility retail concept.
In April 2018 it provided Bristol and South Wales-based Middletons with £4m to expand its modern mobility showroom concept. The business is currently on track to have a portfolio of more than 20 stores in the UK within the next couple of years.
Meanwhile, established South Wales mobility dealer, Bush Healthcare, has also been expanding its portfolio recently both locally and for the first time, across the border in England.