MAIL ORDER giant Glasgow Angling Centre has made an asset-stripping raid on recently sunk company Chapman’s Tackle.

The Glasgow company has bought the one-time Lincolnshire-based discount merchant, which went into receivership more two months ago.

Stock has been a separate issue and has been dealt by the liquidator although it is understoodthere are still some retention of title issues to be sorted out.

Paul Devlin, boss of Glasgow Angling Centre, decided to purchase Chapman’s assets after a recent trip down to the premises. Paul’s raid includes the buildings, the entire payroll, warehouse, fixtures, fittings, in fact, everything bar the stock.

Paul explained: “I went down to meet up with the receivers and have a look at the Chapman’s set-up. In the back of my mind I was really interested in buying up the fixtures and fittings, the thought of buying the lot had never even entered my head.

“Chapman’s Tackle was at its strongest in the coarse fishing marke, but had been trying to break into game and sea in a big way. Whereas Glasgow Angling Centre has always seen its strengths in the sea and game market however we have been desperately trying to get into the coarse fishing market but have always found it logistically difficult.”

Paul excitedly continued: “After looking at the set-up though, well, it really got me thinking. What with the obvious strengths that Chapman’s Tackle had, and with the areas of the business that we at Glasgow Angling Centre had been trying to grow on, well it was just an obvious move to buy the company’s assets.

“So that is exactly what I have done. I have bought the Chapman’s assets. That includes the 15,000 sq ft warehouse plus the lease on 4,500 sq ft of retail shop  as well as purchasing the name Chapman’s and the rights to the name and, I think most importantly, the staff. The only thing I have not bought is the stock.

“I have created a new company to replace the old one. Chapman’s Angling Ltd will be the operating name for the coarse fishing part of my new business.

“The short term plan is to keep the shops up and running. The Chapman’s sea and game shop is to be closed but a smaller selection of these sea and game products will be available in one of the existing coarse shops. This will mean primarily a coarse fishing related shop.”

In a move which will intrigue many, Paul is keeping on both Mark and Julie Wilkinson, who ran the previous business and they will be now be charged with taking care of the coarse fishing mail order side of the business.

Paul added: “Chapman’s Angling Ltd will handle the coarse fishing side of the mail order, as this is where its experience lies. Glasgow Angling Centre will continue with mail order on the game and sea angling side.

“Glasgow Angling Centre will be dealing with all accounts payable and the vast majority of all purchasing and advertising for Chapman’s Angling, ensuring that none of the problems from the old regime are passed on.”

Mark Wilkinson, now back in the manager’s seat to control the coarse fishing operation under the watchful eye of Paul, told Tackle & Guns: “Essentially the new company will take the strengths of both the Glasgow Angling Centre operations and the Chapman’s operations. Obviously the strength of Chapman’s was in the specialist tackle side of the business, whereas Glasgow Angling Centre dominates on the game and sea side of things.

“The companies will be marketed separately but essentially, as both Paul and myself are singing from the same hymn sheet, the result will be a very strong presence in all angling markets. This fits in very well with the Devlin ethos, and will prove that the resultant market force is very much greater than the sum of its parts.”



Industry intrigued by deal

The move by Glasgow Angling Centre and the re-emergence of Chapman’s brought swift reaction from the trade, with the majority wishing the new venture well.

Simon Henton, general manager at major tackle supplier Leeda said: “Obviously we have worked with Paul at Glasgow for a number of years and therefore we have built up a trustful relationship. The fact that Paul has decided to keep both Mark and Julie on to manage the mail order side of the set-up also bodes well.

“We are far from delighted with the receiver and continue to pursue all monies lost with the collapse of Chapman’s. However, the fact that we have lost money is nothing to do with Paul Devlin, or Glasgow Angling Centre, and therefore will notaeffect our future business with him or his newly-ounded company.”

Craig Brew, general manager, at Shimano UK also stressed that it was important to look to the future rather than dwell on the past.

He told T&G: “Paul Devlin is a very professional and astute business man and we have always enjoyed doing business with him. Obviously the collapse of Chapman’s has left a bitter taste in the mouth of many companies, ourselves included. It is fair to say though that we will be sitting down and talking to Paul about the future and our business with Paul will continue.”

Meanwhile, another major supplier, Magnus Gunnarson, boss of Svendsen Sports UK, added: “I think that this is the best possible outcome for all concerned. Paul is a formidable businessman, one of the best in the trade. It is bad when business collapses and, yes, people are left being owed money, but these things happen in all industries. Svendsen will certainly be giving its full support to Paul Devlin.”


Tackle and Guns