Jobs saved as Bristol fitness centre buys South West trampoline parks out of administration

November 16, 2018

The firm behind a Bristol-based indoor climbing wall and fitness centre has stepped in to save more than 80 jobs by buying a failed trampoline park operator from its administrators.

Redpoint Bristol Climbing Centre on Winterstoke Road took over Freedog, which had run the parks in Bristol and Swindon, when a deal to sell the troubled firm collapsed at the 11th hour. 

Freedog, which was founded in 2014, put significant private investment into transform the two large empty warehouses in Bristol’s Templegate Park, off Bath Road, pictured, and Swindon into state-of-the-art trampoline and activity parks. 

They opened as part of a trend for ever-larger activity and play centres, often based on industrial estates or business parks on the edge of towns and offering free parking and cafes as well as extensive soft-play areas.

But trading difficulties and he failure to sell the business as a going concern meant the Bath office of business rescue specialists Begbies Traynor was called in as administrator.

Following an extensive marketing campaign by Begbies Traynor, Redpoint Bristol Climbing Centre and its owner Tom Gape came forward to save the business and all 81 jobs which are split between the two sites.

Tom Gape, who was assisted by solicitor Neville Catton of Carbon Law Bristol in the deal, has immediate plans to re-energise both sites.

He said: “I am delighted to welcome the customers and staff of Freedog to the Redpoint family. We have been operating in Bristol for over five years and have been looking to expand our operations for some time.

“It gives me great satisfaction to be able to do so in a way which safeguards so many existing jobs. We will be maintaining the great facilities that Freedog already offers, and there will be some exciting expansion news coming soon.”

Neil Vinnicombe and Simon Haskew of Begbies Traynor said Freedog’s directors had attempted to sell the business prior to their engagement but the plans were dashed when the buyer withdrew at the last minute.

Begbies Traynor said due to Freedog’s good brand and customer loyalty, its marketing campaign produced significant interest within the sector, which has expanded rapidly over the last five years but now appears to be experiencing a period of consolidation.

Neil Vinnicombe said: “It’s immensely pleasing to have achieved our objective of working with the directors and management to secure the immediate future of the business.

“This approach to rescuing the firm means that not only have we been able to protect the workforce, but we have also been able to provide continuity for the company’s loyal customers and avoided two large vacant warehouses in central city locations. Additionally, the sale should help maximise any potential return to the company’s creditors.”

Neil and Simon were assisted by Nigel Boobier of law firm Osborne Clarke in Bristol.

Neville Catton of Carbon Law Partners said: “Carbon Law Partners is delighted to have worked with Tom Gape on the purchase of Freedog. It’s always rewarding to be involved in a transaction that helps to save a business.

“This purchase has ensured that 81 jobs have been secured and that the local communities of Bristol and Swindon still have access to these facilities. I look forward to continue working with Tom and his business as it climbs to new heights.”

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