One of Birmingham’s best known retailers have been taken over in a major management buyout – which puts an end to more than a century of family rule.
Lee Longlands has been taken over by its management team for an undisclosed multimillion pound sum.
A new parent company, Financial Holdings (Midlands), has been established for the firm set up in 1902 – and while relatives of the founders retain more than a quarter of the business, they will have no input.
The executive board, comprising Darren Campo, Steve Tressler and Robert Lee, will have full decision making control over the group after securing a 72 per cent controlling stake.
In all, the business, founded by George Longland and Robert Lee, has six stores – including in Derby, Cheltenham, Leamington Spa and Abingdon.
Mr Campo said the MBO would enable the business to achieve its aggressive growth targets.
He added: “This deal isn’t about change, it’s about protecting the core values of the business, which have been in existence since the company was formed over 100 years ago. It’s about continuing to put the customer first throughout the lifecycle of the buying experience, from initial contact with our sales team, right the way through to post delivery care. These are the values which the business was built upon and which we will continue to focus on.”
The board now plan to increase their shareholding to 100 per cent within the next three years. The 28 per cent minority shareholders, made up of original family members, will have no input into the running of the business operations.
The group employs 107 people and turned over £18.7 million last year.
The first Lee Longlands opened at 304 Broad Street, initially selling antiques before turning to manufacturing their own cabinet ranges.
The location was by the canal network so timber could be brought in by barge, before the end product was transported to customers by horse-drawn carriage.
In 1912, the company hit the headlines when it bought the first-ever motorised delivery vehicle – with solid tyres.
110 years of Lee Longlands
Lee Longlands opens at 304 Broad Street, selling antiques and furniture, after being founded by Robert Lee and George Longland
The second generation of the two families take over, with Robert Lee and Gilbert Longland at the helm
The art deco-style store is built on Broad Street
The company supplies thousands of miles of fabric to black out buildings in the region
Lee Longlands develops an accessory department selling china, glassware and linens
The Broad Street store is expanded and launches a baby department and children’s play area
The company moves again in Broad Street, to the corner with Granville Street
The now famous “Leave it, Leave it to Lee, Leave it to Lee Longlands” jingle is created and used extensively over TV and radio
Lee Longlands opens store in Leamington