AUCHRANNIE resort, on the Isle of Arran, have announced that the current shareholders have agreed to transfer their shares to an Employee Ownership Trust in order to protect the company’s values and ensure that Auchrannie will never be sold to a predator who might not maintain these values.
Established by Iain and Linda Johnston in 1988, Auchrannie currently remains under the ownership of the Johnston family.
Auchrannie is an unique, multi award-winning resort located on the Isle of Arran, just off the west coast of Scotland.
The resort currently comprises of two, four-star hotels, 30 five-star self-catering lodges, two leisure clubs, three individually-branded restaurants, children’s Playbarn, The ASPA destination spa and Arran Adventure outdoor company.
The business currently has an annual turnover of £7.3 million and supports 160 team members.
Over the years, many lucrative acquisition offers for Auchrannie have been turned down in order to protect the ethos of the company, the team and to safeguard community use of Auchrannie’s facilities for future generations.
By transferring their shares to an Employee Ownership Trust, the current shareholders believe that they will protect Auchrannie’s contribution to its team and the island; they are also determined that the resort continue to be operated in accordance with Auchrannie’s values.
Linda Johnston, co-founder and managing director of Auchrannie Resort, said of the move: “Employee ownership will give the whole Auchrannie team a stake in the continued growth of the business and protect the ethos and values that are shared by everyone who works at Auchrannie.”
Linda Johnston and the rest of the Auchrannie team will remain in place and the day-to-day management and operation of the business will not change.
Team members will be involved in the transition process, giving them a stake in developing and growing the business for the future. After the transfer is complete, the business will be controlled by an Employee Ownership Trust which will include team members.
The transition to employee ownership is being supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Co-operative Development Scotland and the process is being managed by Co-ownership Solutions LLP who have been assisting businesses to transition to employee ownership for over six years.
The transfer is expected to complete in April 2017.
Auchrannie Resort – how the Auchrannie journey started
When Iain and Linda Johnston founded Auchrannie 28-and-a-half years ago, they did not intend to develop a resort, they just wanted to build a swimming pool!
As an ex tourism officer for the island, Iain saw that, without wet weather facilities, the island would never develop as a tourist destination and Linda, as an ex PE teacher, wanted to have a pool for community and education purposes.
So they bought Auchrannie, which at the time was a 16-bedroom guest house, with aspirations to build a business which would pay for a swimming pool. Not for one minute did they think that Auchrannie would end up with two pools and that the resort would need to grow to its current size in order to fulfil their dream.
When the business started back in 1988, Arran’s economy and the tourism industry were struggling. Quality accommodation, eating places and visitor attractions were few and far between, whilst wet weather facilities were non-existent.
There was no distillery, brewery, chocolate or cheese shop.
The tourism season started at Easter and finished at the end of September when all the businesses closed and the locals headed off for their annual break.
Today, the island is a far more vibrant and lively place, a better place to live and an important year-round tourist destination. This is certainly due in part to the Auchrannie Resort, its facilities and its community ethos.
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