By James Wells
BUNDABERG: The retail consortium bidding against the Leading Edge Group for the BSL franchise business has made a last minute pitch to existing franchisees asking for their financial assistance and support to buy back the company.
Current.com.au has obtained a document sent by the head of the retail consortium – Everard Johnson to fellow BSL store owners on Sunday, explaining the latest information regarding the consortium bid for the franchise business by existing franchisees.
“If you feel you have not had enough information from the retail consortium, I apologise, you are correct," the document said.
"The reasons for this have been plentiful, however the two most pressing reasons are as follows:
“Firstly, our main aim has been to establish a mechanism to hold the pledged money so that we can prove to the receiver that we will be in a position to settle on our offer to acquire the assets which are necessary to continue the franchise business.
“Secondly, to secure the working capital to operate the business moving forward.
“Both of the above activities are well advanced. We are now engaged in securing the best team, management and staff, to drive the customers through our doors and take advantage of the best selling period of the year. There will be changes from the previous team. Our focus will be on financial accountability, tight cost structure and implementing committee led improvement to our system and practices. Retailer committee requests will be logged and actioned or a response will be conveyed through management.
“The member feedback over the past two weeks has been tremendous. We have heard positive and negative comments. We know that a lot has been learned about the mood of our members. Now that this information has been shared, we as fellow retailers should be able to assist each other to get a better outcome for our new company.
“Improved communication will be another high priority for the new management team.
“The retailer consortium is collectively all of us. The reason we are doing what we are doing is because we are passionate about our brand and name and the success of our retailers that market under its banner. We strongly oppose the LEG attempt to acquire our brand name at a price well below its potential value.
“LEG is attempting to seize an opportunity… we on the other hand are attempting to secure our future.
“Future value in the brand should be secured for the benefit of the membership of retailers.
“We know that there are some retailers focusing on the issues of the past. The retailer consortium is focusing on our future. You are part of that future vision and we want you to share in it. There are a lot of retailers devoting their valuable time ex-gratis to this cause and we thnk you sincerely for your support.
“This golden opportunity will not come our way again. How often do you get the chance to form a new company with a guaranteed steady income stream based on the efforts of over 200 retail outlets.
"Think about it, we have a mature, and experienced group of retailers capable of operating their own business successfully. We retail in an exciting nd dynamic industry with a constant surge of new products made availale to us and have been doing it successfully for many years.
“Most importantly there will be no baggage attached to this new company. No wonder LEG wants to get their hands on it. Why I ask, would we ever want to give an opportunity like this over to a third party?
“WAKE UP MY FRIENDS, IT IS TIME FOR US TO BE TRULY MASTERS OF OUR OWN DESTINY.
“Again we take this opportunity to invite all Betta Electrical, Chandlers and Betta Buying Associate store owners to invest capital into your new company. To do this, a secure trust fund has been established with Baker, O’Brien & Toll Solicitors with supporting documentation and remittance instructions.”
Johnson finished his note promising to return every phone call left for him by franchisees in the final hours of negotiating a bid for the BSL franchise business.
“If the number is busy, please leave your phone number and I will return your call, even if I have to work until midnight, I will return all calls."