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Napthens advises as entrepreneur acquires historic ice cream brand

A team from Napthens solicitors has helped secure the future of a well-known Lancashire food brand after it was acquired by a local entrepreneur.

Simon Rigby, owner of ventures including The Villa restaurant in Wrea Green, near Blackpool, and Preston Guild Hall, has acquired ice cream producers Bonds of Elswick. Mr Rigby is a long-standing client of Napthens – benefiting from the firm’s advice on transactions including the purchase of the Guild Hall.

Bonds has been in business for more than 70 years, but 12 months ago announced its popular ice cream parlour would close its doors, leaving its future in doubt – options included the sale of the business or even selling the land for development.

Now owner Martin Molloy has sold Bonds to Simon Rigby through his business Clifton Quality Meats. The ice cream is now set to be sold in a number of The Rigby Organisation’s venues, with a new ice cream parlour recently opened within the Guild Hall complex.

Mr Rigby was advised by a team from Napthens solicitors including partner and head of Corporate, Keith Melling, Commercial Property partner David Hill, Commercial Property solicitor Nicola Ciraolo and Corporate solicitor Roshni Valibhai.

Keith Melling, who led the Napthens team, said: “Many people in the region can remember happy trips to Bonds in their childhood, and it’s great news that the company’s future has been secured in this way and many more people will get to enjoy an ice cream from Elswick.

”Simon has plans to grow the brand such as making it available at some of his other venues and this acquisition should see Bonds hit new heights.”

Bonds dates back to the 1940s and a venture by the Gornall family who named the company after the street in Elswick where ice cream was first produced. At its peak, Bonds operated a kiosk, café and restaurant, with operator Martin Molloy taking over in 1993 following 30 years with the business.

New owner Simon Rigby added: “We were pleased to use Napthens again.  Being local they understood the importance of the brand.

“I am pleased to be able to keep such an iconic brand alive and continue the Bonds story, welcoming customers old and new.

“I am proud to be associated with a company with such strong family values and traditions and will be working closely with Martin to ensure that we maintain this.”

Martin Molloy of Bonds said: “I am delighted that this is not the end of the road for Bonds and that the story can continue for many more years to come.”

Commercial division - head of Commercial division - Keith Melling