A LANDMARK seafront business has been sold.
Jerome’s Cafe and Pavilion bar, owned by Michael Harrison of Harrison Leisure Ltd for the past 23 years, has new owners.
The leashold and contents of the former Floral Pavilion site on Royal Princes Parade which includes Jeromes cafe, The Pavilion bar and children’s play barn Montyzoomers, has been acquired by Wallbrook Leisure for an undisclosed sum.
The company is a joint venture between entrepreneur Tony Walsh, the man behind the Newport Pub and the Rosewood Pub companies and Kevin Brook, an experienced manage for various national multiples.
Mr Walsh, 45, in an exclusive interview with the Free Press, said: “We have signed a 25 year lease for the building and want to trade it for that time. We have not bought it to sell it.
“We want to develop the site and build on the good work Michael has done and our plans include holding large events here, and to boost the winter trade.”
He said the business would continue to run as normal, probably for the rest of this year, but it would be given an “upgrade” next year.
“We are not looking to rip the heart out of it, it is a good business as it. We are keeping all staff on.
“We are pub and bar operators and we love the industry and care for it in the same way Michael has done,” he said.
Mr Walsh who described himself as “no stranger to Yorkshire” is originally from Wigan.
A graduate of Leeds University he has been in the pub industry for 23 years, entering as a graduate trainee.
After holding a variety of management position he joined Marstons in charge of acquisitions and was responsible for helping develop their Pitcher and Piano bar and restaurant chain, which has venues up and down the country including Leeds, York and Newcastle Quay.
In 1999 he left to start out on his own being involved in various projects involving buying and selling companies business partner in Wallbrook Leisure, Kevin Brook, comes from Hull.
The Pavilion complex has been for sale through agents Fleurets for some time. In a statement issued in a release by the agency, Michael Harrison said: “After such a long time operating this business it will be strange to see it in somebody else’s control, but I know we have selected some very good operators and with their fresh ideas and impetus I am sure it will go from strength to strength.”
In recent years Mr Harrison’s business interests have undergone a number of changes including the seafront Burger King outlet which opened in July 2007 only to close in 2010, due he said to a lack of support from local customers during the winter period.
An application to convert it into an amusement arcade was turned down by East Riding of Yorkshire Council in March this year who wanted to encourage year round use.
After an uncertain start in the control of a separate company, Bridlington’s Eye on The Bay sea front observation wheel stopped turning in November 2007 after one summer season.
Mr Harrison was responsible for its re-opening in March 2008 but that was to close at the end of the season and was dismantled in December 2008.