Holiday firm grows national footprint

NatWest have helped The Original Cottage Company, of which Norfolk Country Cottages is one of the gr

NatWest have helped The Original Cottage Company, of which Norfolk Country Cottages is one of the group's brands, to expand through acquisition. Pictured at the group's office in Reepham, Norfolk, are NatWest's Tony English (right) with The Original Cottage Company's James Ellis (business development director), John Willmot (finance director), Tom Thornley (IT director) and Tom Ellis (online marketing director).For more information on this story please contact Rachel Newby on 01865 343100 or - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk-based holiday company has created seven new jobs at its Reepham group services offices after a move to expand its national footprint.

The Original Cottage Company is a family of seven holiday cottage companies, offering around 1,800 holiday cottages across the UK. First established in 1991 by Richard and Lesley Ellis, Richard's sons James and Tom joined them at the helm, along with son-in-law Tom Thornley.

The firm has recently turned to NatWest for support in a proposed buyout of two separate holiday businesses after the owners said they were thinking of retirement.

Working with Tony English, Senior Relationship Manager in the NatWest Norfolk office, The Original Cottage Company was able to secure a loan through the leisure fund as part of the bank's participation in the Government's Funding for Lending Scheme.

That funding has enabled the company to buy Holiday Cottages (Yorkshire) in Skipton which will complement the services of existing brand Ingrid Flute's Yorkshire Holiday Cottages by offering an additional 130 cottages throughout Yorkshire. They also acquired Wales Holidays, a new area for the business, adding another 400 homes to their offering. Following the acquisitions, The Original Cottage Company has a total of around 2,300 holiday homes across the UK.

The move has safeguarded the jobs of the 10 staff from both brands, as well as leveraging the recruitment of seven new employees in Reepham.

James Ellis said: 'This is our 16th and 17th acquisition. We knew this would provide a great opportunity to offer our customers more choice of fantastic cottages but also these are great companies which will work well under the Original Cottages umbrella; we'll now be able to cross-sell and suggest additional great, national holiday destinations in the UK.'

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Longer-term the Ellis family plans to continue growth through both acquisition and organic means to double the business turnover, but will continue to maintain its market position of running a family-orientated business.

Mr English said: 'Reepham has a population of about 2,000 people and The Original Cottage Company is the largest private sector employer in the town.

'The company is working hard to grow and increase employment opportunities. It's great working with Richard, Lesley, James, Tom and Tom, and I'm proud to have been able to support them through this latest phase of growth.'

The Original Cottage Company is made up of a group of companies including Norfolk Country Cottages, Marsdens Cottage Holidays, Suffolk Secrets, Freedom Holiday Homes, Completely Cottages, Southwold Lettings and Yorkshire Holiday Cottages.

Each brand has an office in their area which means the staff have great knowledge of the local area, offer local advice to holidaymakers and provide homeowners with the best possible service and income for their property

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