SeftonHornWinch (SHW) is opening its first regional UK branch office in a move that could pave the way for further expansion down the line.
From April 1, Bristol-based FCSI consultant Derek White, who runs Food Service Consultants Ltd, will become the face of ‘SHW West’, focusing on the South West and M4 corridor.
SHW has been eager to extend its reach beyond London and the South East off the back of winning projects such as Stonehenge Visitor Centre and more recently the Old Parsonage Hotel in Oxfordshire. Those schemes led to an opportunity for SHW and White to explore a more formal partnership and from that the new alliance was created.
SHW director, Gareth Sefton, said the company was looking at operating it like a franchise more than anything else.
He said: “With Derek we have found someone that obviously knows his business, is very experienced and knows the region, which is something that we don’t. With all the support that the brand of SHW brings to Derek, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of the region and that client base, which should formulate an excellent business relationship and service to our customers.
While Kent-based SHW doesn’t have a firm strategy for expansion beyond the South West at this stage, Sefton said it would assess any future opportunities that might emerge.
“To be fair, it will most likely be project led, so if an opportunity arises in that region that lends itself to doing that then we will look at it,” said Sefton. “We are not risk averse, but we are still in a period of post-recession where money is not being spent freely, so there is not much out there to hang expansion at that rate.”
However, he did acknowledge that customers are increasingly seeking local support where possible, making the franchise approach highly attractive.
He said: “I think what is really important and one of the measures that we will think will make it successful is the fact that we do have Derek locally within the region and the value of that will hopefully shine through and then that will lead us to potentially expanding to maybe the Midlands or the North to do the same thing to have local representation. The one thing that clients are not too keen on is employing someone from the South East to work on a job that is far away — they want that local commitment and partnering up with someone like Derek offers us that.”
As well as its activities in the UK, SeftonHornWinch operates a business in Dubai, UAE.