Rochdale school friends combine to acquire wine retailer

Date published: 24 August 2021

Old Rochdale school friends Rob Weatherhead and Ben Boothman have completed the purchase of wine retailer Affordable Wine.

The pair - who have known each other since attending Hollingworth High School as well as playing rugby together for Milnrow - are hoping to combine their respective experience to grow the business significantly.

Mr Boothman is owner of The Lancashire Hospitality Co-operation which owns the Flying Horse Hotel, The Baum and a number of other venues across Rochdale.

Mr Weatherhead, who now lives in Bolton, is a consultant who works with large global businesses to help them increase their online sales.

The acquisition is eight months in the making, and came about in part by chance as Mr Weatherhead explained: “I was working over the Christmas period and things were pretty quiet. So I started looking into applying what I do for other people to my own business. I didn’t want to start something completely new so begin exploring websites and businesses up for sale.

“I came across Affordable Wine and it looked interesting so I made a few enquiries. Then whilst that was happening, Ben rang me out of the blue. I hadn’t spoken to him properly for six months at least, but I happened to mention the wine business and things developed from there. Had he not called, it probably wouldn’t have happened as it needs both our expertise to make it work.”

The business' main asset is its website which enables the business to sell to individuals and businesses across the country. The pair plan to bolster sales with trade customers more local to home where connections are either already in place, or will be built through marketing activity.

The business already boasts an impressive stock list of less common wines, with plans to expand this range into more spirits and speciality alcohol you won’t find on supermarket shelves.

“We can’t compete on price with the supermarkets,” Mr Weatherhead added. “However, if we can supply wines which aren’t readily available but are of a high quality and reasonably priced, we are confident we can keep people coming back.”

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