Park Head Hotel

Having been a client of Mullen Stoker since day one of their business launching, the team at the Park Head Hotel in Coundon near Bishop Auckland knew they’d be in safe hands when they decided to sell.

Here owner and director Claire Gibbons tells us more about the support she received, which she says was invaluable in helping her through the complex stages of the selling process.

Family-run establishment, the Park Head Hotel, located in Coundon near Bishop Auckland, was once the hub of the community.

But like so many businesses within the leisure and hospitality sectors, the coronavirus pandemic hit it particularly hard.

The hotel was forced to close and coupled with a leak which caused significant damage to the building, the management team decided the time was right to bring forward their plans to sell.

Owner and director Claire Gibbons said: “Prior to the pandemic we were on track for our best year.

“The restaurant was thriving and because of the investment being made in Bishop Auckland by Jonathan Ruffer and the Auckland Project, we were busier than we’d ever been.

“Having purchased the hotel 13 years ago and committed so much time and investment into making it a success, we had thought about selling with 2023/24 in mind.

“But when the pandemic struck, it really hit us hard. I really do think if it weren’t for the support we got from out landlord, we’d have gone bust as the financial help we received wasn’t anywhere near enough.

“It was a strange time for us because until that point, our life had been the hotel – our daughter Lilly was used to Christmases spent with family and friends because Tony and I would always be working.

“But all of a sudden we were all at home, getting to do more things together as a family, and I think what really prompted us to bring forward plans to sell was when Lilly said she’d had the best Christmas she’d ever had because we were all together.”

Once Claire and Tony had made the decision to sell, they drew on the support of their accountants, Mullen Stoker, to help them navigate their way through the complex process.

Claire said: “Mullen Stoker have been our accountants from day one of owning the hotel, and in fact I knew Neil Mullen before that so when he and Gary Stoker launched Mullen Stoker back in 2010, we had no hesitation in moving to them.

“Over the years, as the hotel grew, we utilised more and more of their services, and they made our lives so much easier.

“When we started the sale process, I had no idea just how complicated it would be, and I really needed Mullen Stoker’s help more than ever.

“What I was so impressed with was that Neil, who was out main contact, was available any time, whether it be 10pm on a night or 6am. Whatever I needed him for, he was there, and I cannot fault the support we received from him and the Mullen Stoker team.

“I’d have no hesitation in recommending Mullen Stoker – the service we’ve received has been second to none and they really did make the selling process much easier than it would have otherwise been.”

The Park Head Hotel has been bought by the Auckland Project which has ambitious plans to renovate the hotel and once again position it at the heart of the community.