Banbury veterinary business completes expansion in town
A Banbury veterinary referral service has expanded after purchasing and refurbishing its first premises with support from Lloyds Bank.
Focus Referrals was founded by veterinary surgeons Mike and Alice Rhodes in 2017, and for its first three years was a mobile business with Mike travelling in his van to local practices across the county on a referral basis.
Now, the couple have purchased a 6,000-square-foot industrial unit in Banbury giving them room to grow the company by employing and training up more vets. The veterinary referral service specialises in eye care for small animals.
The move was made possible by a £645,000 development loan from Lloyds Bank to buy and renovate the two-story building, which now comprises four consultation rooms.
As well as growing its own team, which currently includes two veterinary nurses and a receptionist in addition to Mike, Focus Referrals plans to offer the new practice as a base for referral vets with specialisms other than ophthalmology, such as dermatology, cardiology and orthopaedics.
Co-director Mike Rhodes believes Focus Referrals, which treats between 40 to 50 animals a week and has an annual turnover of around £500,000, will benefit from having both a fixed base and the location of its first premises.
He said: “We’re well placed to serve nearby areas like Oxford and Bicester and, since moving in a month ago, we’ve already had referrals from other parts of the South East and from the Midlands.
"Having an actual site to work from ultimately means I can treat more animals by eliminating travel time, and train up other vets to be eye specialists, with plans to take on another vet underway.
“Although Covid delayed things slightly, Lloyds Bank has been by our side throughout the process, and their knowledge and experience of the market we operate in has really made them stand out.
"Despite the disruption we’ve all faced during the last year, and having to adhere to all of the necessary social distancing guidelines, we’ve been able to continue treating sick animals, which is ultimately why we’re here.”
Michael Hunter, healthcare relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, which also provided the mortgage for the building, added: “Mike and the team at Focus Referrals have an impressive business model that provides a vital service to their local community. Purchasing their first site is an important stepping stone to future growth and we look forward to watching the business go from strength to strength.”