James & Gwen Wallace, former owners of Leather Bottle in BlackmoreJames & Gwen Wallace owned and ran the Leather Bottle pub in Blackmore for approximately 18 years. A classic, traditional, freehold pub and restaurant with an excellent reputation and in a lovely setting and yet the natural cycle of owning a business was coming to an end. There appears to be a timeframe for everyone that owns a business to continue to have the energy and ideas and to keep the business moving forwards and at some point that energy begins to fade and people look to retire of find a new challenge in life.


We were introduced to James & Gwen by a family member as they were considering selling their business. Whilst the pub was fully managed for them, they were still living in the upstairs accommodation on site and that made it difficult to keep a separation between home life and the business.


In February 2015 we put the business on the market and expected a lot of initial interest but the level and quality of enquiries was fairly low for the first few months. After a while interest began to gather and we started to see some genuine enquiries and offers coming in for the business.




In no rush to sell, but with their hearts set on moving on we found a serious, well-funded buyer and they were already familiar with the pub as a previous customer. With a price agreed the solicitors were instructed at the end of June 2015 and our role as agent was to facilitate the process of the deal whilst the solicitors completed all the required legal work. As with many deals that initially look like they will be straightforward there were a few issues to be overcome however we were able to ensure that even though progress was not as quick as hoped that it was still kept on track.


James stayed in regular contact with Neil Mansell throughout the process and found it useful to have contact with an agent that was available to speak to and would reply to any emails or messages in a timely fashion.




Selling a business is usually a big commitment for people especially if you have worked in the business and lived on site for a number of years. At times, stress levels can get high but it is always important to keep the end goal in sight of selling the business. This may be the first time you have ever sold a business and it is beneficial to be able to work with an agent that has sold businesses before and is used to the process, time and work involved for both buyer and seller.


The deal finally completed in October 2015. Overall a period of 8 months between going on the market and the deal completing. Very rarely do deals complete as quick as people hope but in this instance it worked out well for both parties.


Having now moved on and bought another business in Essex the Wallace’s now have a new home and another business to develop however James can spend more time on the golf course!


James said “we found that buying a property and selling a business at the same time to be the most stressful thing we have ever done. We had to deal with 3 solicitors at the same time and Neil was always ready to intervene on our behalf to push them along. We would highly recommend him to anyone“