New North business Break90 aims to revolutionise golf market

Rob Mullen has already employed four people at Break90, formed following financial backing from two former colleagues

Adrian Dye, Ron Wood, Rob Mullen, Fiona Lutz, Chris Holmes and Michael Smith
Adrian Dye, Ron Wood, Rob Mullen, Fiona Lutz, Chris Holmes and Michael Smith

An entrepreneur aims to create 20 new jobs through his latest venture which he said will revolutionise the golf retail market.

Rob Mullen has already employed four people at Break90, formed following financial backing from two former colleagues.

He said the business offers a unique and modern means of selecting and buying golf merchandise, and is targeting national roll-out within three years.

The business has created an automated retail pod which allows players to select the most appropriate products for them, and also provides screens for manufacturers to advertise their products.

Run by Mullen and fellow director Fiona Lutz, a sales and marketing specialist, the company has also struck a deal with Costa Coffee to sell their drinks from their machines.

Former Carr’s Milling executive Mullen – whose previous ventures include Sweetspot, the internationally-acclaimed range of snacks for golfers – has now secured financial backing from two of his fellow former directors at the Carlisle-based international food, agriculture and engineering giant.

Chris Holmes, chairman of Carr’s Milling, and former financial director Ron Wood, have both invested in Break90, which has recently opened a showroom at its head office near Stocksfield, in Northumberland.

Mullen, who also previously founded the NewLeaf Food Group, is now eyeing expansion for his latest venture, which he believes will support golf clubs by driving players back into the club shops to buy merchandise and also to use their other facilities.

He said: “The reaction we have had to Break90 has been phenomenal, and we are certain this is the way to revolutionise the golf retail market and to drive players back into the club shop.

“Clubs constantly have to battle against falling member and player numbers, and falling revenues as a consequence, but by creating a new and exciting retail experience, we are providing a reason for them to visit and buy from their local golf club instead of from one of the many national sports retailers.

“On a personal note, I am delighted to have the support of Chris and Ron, two business people who I respect massively and I have been fortunate enough to work alongside and learn from. Their endorsement is a huge boost to Break90 as we put our plans into action to be operating throughout the UK by 2017.”

Chris Holmes, chairman of Break90, said: “I am delighted to be the chairman of a business at the forefront of innovation and technology in the world of golf. Break90 reflects the trends shaping the industry and secures the future of this wonderful game. It provides a profitable solution to golf clubs in these difficult economic times, ensuring that profitability, popularity and sustainability go hand in hand in one of the world’s oldest and fastest growing sports business.”

Break90 was established with legal support from Newcastle law firm Sintons, and financial advice from Tait Walker corporate finance.

Adrian Dye, partner in the company and commercial team at Sintons, who has worked with Rob Mullen for a number of years, said: “Break90 has rightly attracted high praise from the golfing world for addressing one of its big challenges and devising an innovative solution. I have no doubt Break90 machines will become a staple of many golf clubs within the next few years.”

Michael Smith, partner at Tait Walker, said: “Break90’s management and financial backers have very ambitious plans for the business. We are delighted to help them at this stage of the business and look forward to helping them with their future strategies.”

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