The local directory is the subject of a job-creating MBO thanks to the Rosebud loan

A Preston-based company that operates a number of local business directories is eyeing expansion and looking to increase the number of full-time employees after undergoing a management buyout with the help of a Rosebud loan .

Home Handbooks operates six high quality directories in the Greater Preston area on an 18 month cycle, with local traders and other businesses paying to be featured in its pages. It currently employs one full-time staff member, with a number of seasonal roles.

It was started in 2010 by former Blackpool Gazette journalist Peter Ward and was recently bought by Preston businessman Danny Garratt, who also owns the Preston Tuition Centre.

The MBO is funded by a loan of £55,000 from Rosebud. In addition to facilitating the purchase, the loan will also be used to invest in the growth of Home Handbooks over the next few years, which includes increasing the company’s workforce.

Danny Garratt said, “I want to modernize the company’s website. There is a generation of people who may not even check the physical textbooks, a generation that will use both the website and the physical magazines, and a generation that will only use the manual.

“We want to meet everyone’s needs. We will be looking at how we could monetize the website and may hire an additional staff member to operate it.

“I also want to provide social media services to local businesses and we might also consider employing someone who can manage clients’ social media channels for a fee. We hope to gain some employees as well as the seasonal staff we employ to deliver the textbooks.”

Rosebud is owned by Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lancashire County Council. It aims to support the growth of Lancashire businesses and the local economy, providing loans between £10,000 and £300,000 as well as high quality business support.

Danny was introduced to Rosebud by Cassim Patel of the Lancashire Finance Access Service, who approached Rosebud and arranged a meeting with Rosebud Fund Manager Jonathan Nelson.

Danny added, “Jonathan was keen to learn about the business and he understood the opportunities for growth. He was very helpful throughout the application process and worked proactively with me to close the deal.

Danny is also looking to grow the business geographically. He said there had been demand for the textbooks in areas such as Lytham and Lancaster and that this expansion would likely require the recruitment of an additional member of staff.

Jonathan Nelson, fund manager at Rosebud, said: “Rosebud loans can be used to facilitate the growth of Lancashire businesses in the most appropriate way. For Home Handbooks, Danny’s purchase of the business from Peter has the potential to unlock true expansion.

“I’m proud that Rosebud was able to facilitate this deal and look forward to continuing to support Danny in growing the business over the next few years.”

Rosebud is provided by GC Business Finance. Businesses in Lancashire’s 12 local authorities are eligible for funding: Burnley; Chorley; Fylde; Hyndburn; Lancaster; Hang; Preton; Ribble Valley; Rossendale; South Ribble; West Lancashire; wyre.

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