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Tue 12th May 2015 - Rupert Clevely – ‘I approached Enterprise over joint venture’
Rupert Clevely – ‘I approached Enterprise over joint venture’: Gastro-pub entrepreneur Rupert Clevely has told Propel that he approached Enterprise Inns with the idea of setting up a joint venture operating managed pubs in the wake of last November’s parliamentary move to introduce a Market Rent Only option in tied agreements, potentially spelling the end of tied pubs. Clevely said that Enterprise had proven ‘wonderfully easy to deal with’ in developing his idea, which will see Clevely take a 25% stake in an operating company running Enterprise managed pubs, with an average £400,000 investment per pub. He said that the first pub for conversion had been identified within a London suburb and it should be open by the autumn with an operating template slightly different to his former Geronimo Inns gastro-pub business, which is now owned by Young’s. Clevely will become executive chairman of the new company with an unnamed but already identified managing director to be announced in due course. The joint venture has a name already – it will be disclosed once it is registered. Clevely told Propel: “I love being involved in operations day-to-day and there’s still plenty of opportunities within the London area. The Enterprise estate offers a decent flow of pubs. You couldn’t build Geronimo Inns in the same way today – you couldn’t get access to the sites because a Fuller’s or a Young’s would buy them. The Enterprise deal is a great opportunity with a good pipeline of sites. There are great aspirations between us and Enterprise but we need to see how we get on.” Clevely said that his wife Jo, who co-founded Geronimo, would advise on design at the new joint venture with Enterprise. Meanwhile, Clevely reported that his existing company, Greenwell & Tipple, is to expand its first site at Brighton train station, The Cyclist Refreshment Room, which opened almost a year ago. The business, which is run by his three daughters, Coco, India and Montana, will add 400 square foot of trading space to its existing 1,700 square foot by expanding into a space next door. He said the site had started to produce encouraging results and was hitting budget after the offer had been tailored to match ‘customer flows’ in the station. Clevely’s joint venture with Enterprise is known as ‘managed expert’ and is one of three models Enterprise will use to develop its managed estate to between 750 and 850 sites by 2020. The other two are: Bermondsey Pub Company (expected to grow to 35-50 sites) and community pub model Craft Union Pub Company (which is expected to expand by 100-125 sites per annum).

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