Rethinking Rolex Plan Paid Off with Hotel Deal

After 12 years of working at the Townhouse Hotel, Sianhan Smith has bought into the business.

The new part-owner of the Townhouse Hotel in Arbroath called time on plans to invest her life savings on a Rolex watch to buy into the business.

Sianhan Smith has taken on a 20% share of High Street hotel and bar bistro.

The move follows Sianhan spending the last 12 years working her way up from part-time waitress to boss, alongside long-term owner Graeme Gersok.

Sianhan began working in the business aged 18 as a part-time waitress in charge of serving 10 tables on a Saturday.

Over the years her responsibilities grew and is now quite at home hosting more than 200 guests.

Graeme first suggested she invested in the business, which has 30 staff, before Covid.

The conversation started with a discussion about investing in a Rolex watch.

Sianhan recalls: “I’d been speaking to Graeme about investments as I’d saved up a bit of money.

“He came up with some smart suggestions over how I could make it work for me. First of all, he told me I should buy a Rolex as they tend to go up in value.

“Then he said ‘if you don’t want a Rolex, then why not buy into the pub?’

“It took me a second to realise he was being serious but I put it to the back of my mind.”

When the Covid pandemic hit, Sianhan proved her worth by pioneering The Townhouse’s takeaway operation.

“I took a lead on that and things began building back up from there,” she said.

“After that Graeme came back to me about the offer and told me how much I’d need to pay to make a deal.

“I asked for time to think about it and came back the week before Christmas to sign the papers.

“I’ve worked with Graeme a long time and I trust him implicitly as he’s become like my second dad to me. I’m really excited about what the future holds here.”

The Townhouse, which prides itself on its mantra of ‘good food, good people, good times’ has with 11 bedrooms, a popular restaurant and cocktail bar.

It will soon be launching a new menu and is trialling a stylish new alcohol-free, plant-based cocktail range.

Sianhan said other plans involve live entertainment and cocktail-making classes.

She added: “We piloted a couple of cocktails at Christmas and are hoping to go bigger on them this year.

“We’ve spoken about making upstairs a private dining area and doing cocktail-making classes.

“I’d love to see The Townhouse evolve as a venue. We have people coming for food but now we want them to stay on with drinks.

“It’s really exciting to see our place thriving and to see our staff buzzing because we’ve done well on a Saturday night.

“I’ve been here a long time – ever since my Aunty Maureen got me a job at 18 – and that experience has helped me. I remember Saturday nights where 10 tables was considered busy.

“Now we can be serving 200 people from 4pm on a Saturday for dinner and want to keep things current and fun by continually looking at ways to make The Townhouse even better.”

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