Damon Horrill on becoming an employee-owned business

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Ownership change: Cornerstone Inns boss Damon Horrill extolls the benefits of becoming an employee-owned business
Ownership change: Cornerstone Inns boss Damon Horrill extolls the benefits of becoming an employee-owned business
Multiple operator Damon Horrill has given back to his employees in more ways than one by handing ownership of his business, Cornerstone Inns, back to them.

In 2017, Cornerstone Inns announced it was handing over ownership to its employees where 100% of group trading profits are shared by all staff working across the company’s six-strong estate, according to the number of hours worked.

The business worked with legal specialists Fieldfisher to set up an employee ownership trust (EOT) – Cornerstone Cooperative Society.

Operations co-ordinator Damon Horrill highlighted the financial position for the company and how their alternative way of operating works for them.

Employee-owned

He said: “We got a fund from the trading company that has the brand Cornerstone Inns and we became fully employee-owned.

“Working at co-operatives is alright but they are really difficult to administer if you grow because you have to keep a bank of shares for staff and it can get quite complicated.

“We liked the idea of an EOT. It is easier to administrate because you basically have every member of staff as a member of the EOT and the trust owns all the shares.

“It is something we are working on at the moment and it would mean every member of staff can get up to £3,600 in a bonus tax-free.”

Business growth

Horrill also revealed how this concept is something the company wants to expand further afield than the north-west.

He added: “We hope to perfect this model locally then potentially clone it and take it elsewhere in the country. We also managed to get some funding from the Co-operative & Community Finance lenders this year to help us [grow].

“This helps get us investment ready for working capital, which we have just survived without, since year one.”

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