Commer Group

Over 20 years Jim Walsh grew a £500 start-up business into a £40 million company.

He came to his role as an entrepreneur late in life. Having cut his commercial teeth during 17 years as an employee of the pub entertainment company Music Hire Group, in Leeds, rising from frontline salesman to marketing director, he left to start his own business. Initially he set up a pub security company and then a pool-table business in Portugal before establishing the Commer Group in Tadcaster in 1989.

Commer Group Timelime

1989 Set up the company with £500 capital to provide temporary management cover for the White Horse pub in Armley, Leeds.
1992 Providing temporary management for 40+ pubs, and established a new headquarters in 12,000 sq. ft. offices in Tadcaster.
1995 Purchased freehold of headquarters and refurbished them with £1.2 million investment. Renamed the property Commer House.
1996 Purchased freehold of 34 Whitbread pubs for £3.5 million, forming the nucleus of Commer Inns.
1999 Purchased freehold of 28 Tetley pubs and eight others with £7.5 million investment, taking total Commer Inns estate to 75.
Set up Nucleus Data to pioneer the introduction of a system of gathering and managing trading data for tenanted and leased pubs. Successfully marketed the system to other pub companies.
2001 Sold Commer Inns and its 75 pubs to the industry’s leading pub operator, Punch Pub Company, for £19 million.
2002 Set up with partner James Crawfurd-Porter the Tadcaster Pub Company with the initial acquisition of one pub and a plan to grow by selective acquisition of hand-picked single pubs and small groups of pubs.
2006 Commer Group division Sarjam Properties completed the building of Golder House. The 10000 sq.ft. office block close to Commer House, and established the whole site as the Tadcaster Enterprise Park.
2008 Sold Nucleus Data, which had grown to be number two in the licensed trade data management market with a turnover £3 million, to the market leader Brulines for £4.5 million.
Sold 30 pubs and hotels from the Tadcaster Pub Company estate to Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises for £15 million, retaining 32 pubs within Tadcaster Pub Company.
Transferred four hotels, each with between 18 and 37 bedrooms and valued at £4 million, from within the Tadcaster Pub Company estate into a new division of the Commer Group called Town and Village Hotels.
2010 Jim Walsh handed over day-to-day management of the group to his son Edward, a former investment banker with Citigroup in London. Edward is committed to maintain steady growth for the Commer Group by developing the businesses and investments within it.
2011 Commer Group sold its majority holding in Tadcaster Pub Company to the existing management team, retaining a minority interest in the company.