New firm registered
Bross Bagels in liquidation as tax office chases debt
Bross Bagels founder Larah Bross has registered a similar business just a day after putting the hipster sandwich group into liquidation.
Total debts due by the company are in excess of £1.2 million with about half due in unpaid tax.
A petition was lodged at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 3 August on behalf of Ms Bross and her partner Marc Millar, shareholders in Bross Bagels, for the business “to be wound up by the court and that an interim liquidator be appointed”.
Ms Bross said: “I’ve had no alternative but to place Bross Bagels Ltd into liquidation. As stated previously all the jobs have been safeguarded and we are bagel business as usual.”
An investigation by the Edinburgh Reporter and Edinburgh Guardian established that on 13 July HM Revenue and Customs sent Bross Bagels a letter “warning of winding up action for £574,132.03”.
The following day Ms Bross – also known as Mama Bross – registered a new business at Companies House in which she is the sole shareholder and trading as Hot Mama Bagels Ltd.
The letter from the Revenue stated: “If the company doesn’t pay in full or contact us about a payment plan by 3 August 2023, we may apply for a winding-up order against the company for this debt”.
It goes on to warn that if the company is wound up the business could lose its assets, have its bank account frozen and may have to pay legal and other costs.
Earlier this month an email was sent by Bross Bagels’ financial department informing suppliers that the business had been placed in administration.
Local traders seeking payment were told in the email that “the entity of Bross Bagels Ltd went into administration” on 3 August 2023, adding that the administrators would be in touch directly regarding the debt and to confirm the best way forward.
However, the Canada-born business owner and comedian claimed that the business would continue trading and that following a restructuring it was battling to secure jobs.
She said: “I think everyone is aware of how hard it’s been for the hospitality sector over the last few years and things continue to be tough, but we are working tirelessly just to keep ourselves trading.
“We have taken professional advice; and a restructure has allowed us to safeguard all jobs and the good news is that it’s business as usual for bagel lovers.”
Founded in a small shop in Portobello in August 2017, the company’s Montreal-style bagels and quirky marketing and social media campaigns built up a strong following. A crowdfunding initiative was launched in October 2020 to part-finance a larger outlet and bakery in Portobello with supporters asked to invest £1,000 each – refundable after four years – in return for annual bagel vouchers and certain VIP benefits.
Expansion included opening shops in Leith and Queensferry Street – both now closed – but the brand was rolled out in other trendy city locations including Bruntsfield and Stockbridge. The company’s most ambitious project to date was launched in December 2021 when Bross Deli opened, a 1,200 sq ft unit in Edinburgh’s newest retail hotspot, the St James Quarter.
Last year boss the Bross Bagels boss pulled off a marketing coup when the business signed up Scottish actor Alan Cumming to collaborate on the naming of a new vegan bagel in his honour.
In April Larah Bross met the Hollywood star during the Tartan Day Parade celebrations in New York and hosted a “Bagel Brunch” at the actor’s Club Cumming cabaret bar.