Pictures is Mike Leighton
Leighton Vans, the VW transporter customisation specialist, has bought a new 11,800 sq ft company headquarters and showroom in Rotherham as part of ambitious expansion plans.
Sheffield solicitors Wake Smith advised on the six-figure sum purchase of the former Bradken manufacturing unit at Dodds Close on behalf of Leighton Vans’ owner, enabling the company to double its workforce and triple its sales and production space.
A million-pound funding package from NatWest and Lombard Finance helped Leighton Vans finance the new premises.
The automotive business, which has become a hit with the outdoor and lifestyle community nationwide, is the brainchild of Mike Leighton who spotted a gap in the market for sales and bespoke customisation of VW transporter vans four years ago.
Mike Leighton, managing director, said: “Not only do we sell, rent and lease VW transporters but we create unique, high specification vans which can be colour coded, body styled, upgraded and modified to what our client requires. We really wanted to find premises that suited our business needs, and allowed for growth.
“I’ve always had a vision to move to a site which would be a drive-to destination for our customers. I wanted a space to display about 50 vehicles, offer merchandise and have an informal customer area.
“This concept will work really well at Dodds Close. Parking and storage was always an issue for us but now we will be able to enhance both our customer experience and the production side, doubling our workforce of eight and operating four ramps in the garage instead of two. The location is really well positioned for the M1, Meadowhall and train stations.
“Once we started working with Wake Smith on the purchase requirements and Knight Frank it all went very smoothly. Financial support from NatWest has also been instrumental in allowing us drive forward or plans for growth.
“We are looking forward to our move shortly, once we have completed our refurbishment programme.”
Paul Gibbon, director at Wake Smith’s commercial property division, said: “We were really pleased to be able to arrange the purchase requirements for Leighton Vans expansion.
“The business model established by Mike works extremely well and he has developed a strong customer base across the country, tapping into the popularity of outdoor sports and people wanting to enjoy the countryside.”
Leighton Vans currently operates from Wharncliffe Industrial Estate in Deepcar and is in its fourth year, having become a spin off from Mike Leighton’s former used car business, set up ten years ago.
The company now has a one million pound turnover, customers nationwide and also supports world renown, professional mountain bikers including Sheffield’s Steve Peat, Scotland’s trial cyclist Danny Macaskill and World Cup circuit rider Brendan Fairclough.
NatWest relationship manager Aaron Carter said: “Leighton Vans is a dynamic and ambitious business. It has been really rewarding to work with the management team to progress their growth plans, which are helping to create new jobs locally.”
Rebecca Schofield, partner at Knight Frank which marketed Dodds Close, said: “This industrial warehouse unit is in an established location and ideal for Leighton Vans’ expansion needs. It will allow them to have a much improved base with office, showroom, customer area and workshop – all under one roof.
“This unit was one of a few freeholds available and we had good levels of interest because of the quality. We wish them every success in their new home.”