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16 September 2019 | Childcare & Education

Kent day nursery sold to expanding group operator through Christie & Co

Smart Start Nursery School, located in Gravesend, Kent, has been sold through specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, to a growing group operator.

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Smart Start Nursery provides exceptional childcare with an effective operating capacity of 80 children. The nursery was awarded its Ofsted Outstanding rating in April 2018, which is a testament to the quality of the childcare provision and enviable reputation.

The nursery operates from two Victorian houses which have been connected and subdivided and is located just off the A2 towards Gravesend high street, meaning it is perfect for both local and commuting parents.

Having operated the nursery for a number of years, the previous owners, Mr and Mrs Terry and Shirley Wickens, are looking forward to retiring. Shirley has been the manager throughout her time as owner and so finding the right buyer was of utmost importance, they comment, “Retirement was not a decision we took lightly as Smart Start had been in our lives for many years, it is a very special place full of very special people. We were looking for someone who could move the nursery forward so that it could continue to thrive. Sophie our broker introduced us to Storal learning and immediately we realised they were the perfect match. There forward thinking and promises of investment in Smart Start gave us confidence that the nursery as a whole would be in safe hands. We wish Storal Learning every success for the future. Thank you also to Sophie for guiding and supporting us through the selling process which was completed in a good timeframe.”

Smart Start was purchased by Storal Learning, who operate 18 nurseries across the country and plan to continue to drive forward expansion of their growing group by acquiring the best quality nurseries that have strong staff teams in place. Ashwin Grover and Varun Chanrai, Managing Directors comment, “Smart Start has an enviable reputation in Gravesend for providing high quality childcare. We are extremely excited to bring the nursery into the Storal Learning family. Terry and Shirley have left a tremendous legacy for us to continue to build upon and we are really looking forward to continuing to deliver the best possible care for local families in Gravesend.

“We are very grateful to Sophie Willcox at Christie and Co for connecting us to Smart Start. Her passion and drive to overcome any obstacles that arose in the deal process was a clear to see and has helped deliver an exceptional outcome for both buyer and seller.”


Sophie Willcox, Associate Director at Christie & Co handled the sale and adds, “Storal Learning were the perfect fit for Smart Start and I am delighted to have assisted both Shirley and Terry in finding them the right buyer to carry on their legacy and Storal Learning in their continued expansion across the country. I hope to work with them again in the future.'