Member Article

Fluid Group Geared for Growth

Bar and coffee shop operator Fluid Group is looking at further expansion of its brand following the retirement of one of its founder shareholders.

Oliver Vaulkhard is now owner of the Fluid Group – which owns high-end Newcastle venues including The Hood Street Club and Barluga, and also launched the Central Bean Coffee House chain – after buying out fellow director and shareholder David King.

Mr King now leaves the business, which began life in 1995 when The Quilted Camel, the first venue in its portfolio, was established. Since then, it has grown to open and operate seven Newcastle bars, one bar in Morpeth, and three Central Bean Coffee House venues. It also runs a design business, Fluid Design Solutions.

Mr Vaulkhard is now managing director of the group, which employs around 300 people, with Sarah Bowens taking on more responsibilities under her remit as operations director.

The deal was overseen by Newcastle law firm Sintons and supported by the Newcastle branch of Allied Irish Bank (GB).

Mr Vaulkhard said: “The future for Fluid looks very exciting, and I, with the support of my fantastic team, look forward to continuing to grow our brand. We have opened many successful venues over the past 18 years, and that is a trend I hope will continue. Our Central Bean Coffee Houses were a slight change in direction for us but have been a huge success, and that is an area we will definitely look to expand.

“We have built a business offering venues which we commit to for the long term, where we develop lasting relationships with our clients, staff and suppliers. That is what has set us apart and has ensured we have withstood the economic turmoil, and that ethos will always continue at Fluid.

“During that time, we have developed close relationships with both Sintons and Allied Irish Bank (GB) in Newcastle, and I am grateful for their help and support with this deal. The fact they both share our belief in providing a professional yet personal service means we will continue to work closely for years to come.”

Christopher Welch, Partner in the Company and Commercial Department at Sintons, said: “We have worked with Ollie and Fluid Group for many years, and are very pleased to be able to provide all the necessary support and assistance to conclude matters in relation to Dave’s retirement. Fluid Group has built up a strong reputation for operating high quality venues, and with plans to further expand the brand already being drawn up, and with Ollie at the helm, we are very confident in its future. We look forward to supporting his progress for many years to come.”

Chris Dixon, Manager of the Corporate Business division at Allied Irish Bank (GB) in Newcastle, said: “Fluid Group has been a valued client for many years, and we are proud of the relationship we have with such a dynamic North East business. We wish Ollie and the team every success for the future. This was an excellent opportunity for Allied Irish to financially support a fellow growing business, which is also committed to remaining here for the long term. We look forward to continuing to work with Ollie and Fluid as we both progress and build on our existing reputations.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Deborah Johnson .

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