Renfrewshire optician acquired by one of its employees with £225,000 funding package

Gemma Hill
Gemma Hill

A Renfrewshire optician has been acquired by one of its employees, with support of a £225,000 funding package from Bank of Scotland.

Forde Opticians has been acquired by Gemma Hill eyecare Ltd. Gemma Hill is now the sole owner of the independent practice.

Located in Linwood near Paisley, the practice offers more than 1,000 patients NHS and private eye examinations, contact lens consultation and dry eye treatment.

The practice currently employs three members of staff including one optometrist and two receptionists. Plans are in place to introduce a graduate optometrist from September 2020 and increase the optician’s patient base by expanding into the practice’s second room.

Gemma Hill, owner and head optometrist of Forde Opticians, said: “I’ve always wanted to buy my own practice, but it can be tough financially so early in my career. Despite only graduating four years ago, having Bank of Scotland by our side has meant I’ve been able to take the reins of my own practice and start planning ways to grow the business.

“My plan is to introduce a graduate next year and train them up, similar to my own experience. It’s not simply about expanding the business in terms of finances and introducing new technology over the coming years, but also nurturing the next generation of talent.”

Hamish Primrose, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, said: “Supporting the healthcare industry and the talent we see entering it is an essential part of our commitment to helping Scotland prosper.

“Helping businesses like Gemma Hill Opticians has not only enabled an optician to purchase their first practice but it has also secured local jobs and maintained a community resource used by hundreds of people across the Renfrewshire area.

“We’re supporting businesses from all sectors across Scotland, underpinned by our commitment to lend up to £1.6bn to help companies scale-up and take advantage of the opportunities being presented across Scotland.”

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