Dragons’ Den win for former St Albans pupil
- Credit: Photo supplied
A young entrepreneur whose family name is synonymous with ice cream in St Albans has shown he is the cream of the crop on hit BBC show Dragons’ Den.
Co-owners of Mainstage Travel Rob Tominey and Aden Levin recently featured in the new series, when they walked away with £100,000 from technology stalwart Piers Linney.
Rob, a former St Columba’s College pupil, returned to his parents’ home in St Albans to watch the show where Piers, along with fellow dragons Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne, was keen to secure himself a slice of the company.
Mainstage Travel is the fastest growing youth clubbing travel brand in the UK. Piers, a new dragon, received a 15 per cent equity stake in return for his £100,000 investment.
He said Aden, 25, and Rob, 24, had “reinvented the youth travel market” with a concept that had mass market appeal and long-term potential.
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Rob is following in the well-worn footsteps of his forebears, as the Tominey family has been involved in business in St Albans for years.
Over 70 years ago Rob’s great-grandparents John Patrick Tominey and his wife Benedetta had a successful business selling ice cream, at first from their doorstep, then from tricycles and vans.
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This was at a time when there was difficulty in getting hold of ice as no one had a personal freezer.
They set up a dairy on Sandridge Road, the family’s Chocolate Box sweet shop and Vaudeville Restaurant.
Rob said the Mainstage Travel website “went crazy” and attracted thousands of hits immediately after he and Aden appeared on the show.
He added that prior to speaking to the dragons he was worried about forgetting his speech, but preparation and a thorough knowledge of the business, and market, saw him through.
The young entrepreneurs apparently amazed the dragons straight away by announcing their impressive revenue – a turnover of £1.6 million after starting their firm in 2011, and a profit of £257,000 in the second year.
It is one of the most valuable companies to have entered Dragons’ Den in seven years.
Rory Byrne, head of house at St Columba’s, said: “We always knew Rob would go far. He won the Young Enterprise competition when he was in the sixth form, so nothing surprises me.”