New generation drives growth for historic family jeweller

A well-known family jeweller is going from strength to strength with a new generation taking a key role in its growth.

Lancaster-based Banks Lyon expanded into Kendal with the opening of a new store in 2017 after Maxine Banks Lyon joined the business with her partner Alexander.

Maxine is the family’s fifth generation to be involved in the business. Following the success of the Kendal opening, she is now eyeing further long-term growth for the company.

Maxine said: “When myself and Alexander came into Banks Lyon we brought new skills to the business. I had worked in the jewellery industry and Alexander came from a finance background in the city of London.

“We saw opportunities for the company and decided to open a second store. It was very much Alexander’s project and the first time the business had delved into a new opening. We now want to concentrate on being the very best in those locations, but the long-term plan is for continued growth.”

The business, which currently has 14 employees, can trace its roots in Lancaster back to 1855 and is led by Rodney Banks Lyon. His daughter Maxine joined the company as marketing director around four years ago. Her husband Alexander is now the company’s retail director.

Key to the business’s long-term growth plan is the support and advice they have received from accountants and business advisers MHA Moore and Smalley.

The family has worked closely with Adam Parton, a partner in the firm’s Lancaster office, over the past year. Adam has advised on succession planning and introduced new accounting methods to give the family more accurate financial information.

Adam said: “Banks Lyon uses a bespoke bookkeeping method. We have looked at ways the family could make better use of the technology they already have available.

“The new approach means they can access monthly financial reports and they have now introduced regular financial discussions involving ourselves.”

Rodney added that Banks Lyon viewed Adam as a strategic partner in the business and highlighted the importance to the business of being able to make full use of the financial information it gathers.

He said: “Having better information about the health of the business has made us more professional. Being a small business means you can react to the business environment quicker than larger companies, but you need the reports to be able to do that.”

With the support of Moore and Smalley, Banks Lyon is also assessing the future options to fully pass the company down to Maxine and Alexander.

Adam continued: “We are exploring options for the strategic ownership of the business and planning for succession.

“All independent businesses need to take a long-term view of where they need to be. Not just over the next year but for the next 25 years.”