Independent coffee shop chain Bob & Berts to open 30 new stores with £2m investment

Gemma Hamilton, an investor from BGF’s Northern Ireland team with Bob & Berts’ owners Colin McClean (left) and David Ferguson (right). The coffee shop chain has just announced major expansion plans, which are being supported by £2 million from BGF
Gareth McKeown

POPULAR Northern Ireland coffee chain Bob & Berts has announced it is to open 30 new stores as part of major expansion plans.

The Independent coffee shop company will open the additional stores across the north, Republic of Ireland and Scotland in the next four years, with the expansion being fuelled by £2 million from UK investors BGF (Business Growth Fund).

Bob & Berts is now the third company in Northern Ireland to secure a major equity investment from BGF, the UK's most active investor in small and mid-sized companies.

Founded in Portstewart by Colin McClean, his father Arnold and brother-in-law David Ferguson, Bob & Berts has 16 coffee shops across the north, in locations including Coleraine, Portstewart, Stranmillis, Lisburn, Omagh and Dungannon.

BGF's investment will be used to support the company's continued growth strategy and once opened the new stores will create up to 600 new full time and part time jobs.

Colin McClean co-owner of Bob & Berts, said the investment from BGF will allow the company to accelerate its growth plans.

“The business is growing quickly and we are ambitious to take the next step. We have successfully opened ten new stores in the last two years and are looking to open a further 30 over the next four years."

"We are now actively looking at sites in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland," he said.

Bob & Berts is the third business in Northern Ireland to secure funding from BGF's £2.5 billion pot following its investments in housebuilder Braidwater and waste management experts RiverRidge. BGF makes long-term investments and holds non-controlling stakes in the companies it supports.

As part of its investment, industry expert Mohan Mansigani will be joining the board of Bob & Berts as the company's non-executive chair. Gemma Hamilton, an investor from BGF's Northern Ireland team, will also join the board.

Patrick Graham, head of BGF's Northern Ireland and central Scotland team said they were excited to be working with a company with a strong brand and "significant growth potential".

"BGF continues to have a strong focus on Northern Ireland as we believe our long term, minority approach fits well with business owners here. Bob & Berts represents our third investment here over the last 18 months and we continue to see a strong pipeline of quality opportunities. As a result, we hope to continue growing our level of investment into Northern Irish businesses over the coming months and years," he added.

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