Archway is the first veterinary practice in Wales to go into employee ownership
Archway Veterinary Centre, which has branches in Chepstow and Caldicot, has transitioned into an employee-owned business, the first veterinary practice to do so in Wales.
The practice is now owned by 26 of its staff and is governed by an Employee Ownership Trust. Andrea Reynolds, who has been one of the directors of the business since 2011 – taking over sole interest in the small animal practice in 2014 – has sold her interest in the business to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).
Andrea will remain at Archway as one of three clinical Directors, while there are also three Trustee Directors, including John McEwan who originally established the practice, before retiring.
Andrea, who graduated as a vet in 1996 and worked around the UK and Australia before settling in Chepstow, explained her reasons for selling the practice to her colleagues: “In South Wales, a large number of Veterinary Practices have been taken over by corporates and I was becoming increasingly concerned that a monopoly of these companies and private equity firms buying out small independent practices was affecting our industry, and those linked with it.
“Therefore, when I was considering the future of the practice, I was adamant that Archway would and should remain independent long after my stewardship ends.
“I have always been aware that the success of a Veterinary Practice depends on all of the staff who work there, and I believe the Employee Ownership model recognises and rewards each staff member’s contribution and gives them a voice in the future of the business. That’s why it was the perfect way for me to pass on the Practice knowing it is and will remain with people that I know and trust.”
Andrea added: “I have been delighted to work with Cwmpas, who have advised and steered us every step of the way in setting up Archway Veterinary Centre as an employee owned business, to hold shares on behalf of current and future employees and ensure the future of the practice is in safe hands.”
Andrea was advised on the transition into being employee-owned by Social Business Wales, which is delivered by Cwmpas, the new name for the Wales Co-operative Centre. Capital Law acted on behalf of the company on the EOT.
Derek Walker, Chief Executive of Cwmpas, which delivers Social Business Wales, said: “To have a business such as a veterinary practice go into EOT just shows the flexibility and benefits of employee ownership rather than selling a business to a third party and we are proud to have supported Archway into being the first to do so in Wales.
“Succession planning is a very difficult thing to navigate and Andrea has recognised that by selling her practice to her colleagues via an EOT means that her beloved business will remain independent and that she can also remain working there.”
Newly appointed Director at Archway Veterinary Centre, Eleanor Gough, said:
“Our team are unreservedly dedicated to promoting animal health and welfare. Becoming an EOT has meant we are able to stay true to ourselves and to protect the core ethos of our practice for years to come.
“I could not ask for a better team to take Archway Veterinary Centre towards a bright new future.”
The Employee Ownership Wales service is part of the Social Business Wales programme delivered by Cwmpas. It is part of the Business Wales family and funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.
For more information about employee ownership, visit: https://employeeownershipwales.co.uk/.