Former Geronimo Inns managing director Ed Turner is looking to expand his Buff & Bear Saloons business to achieve a small independent group with a maximum of 12 pubs, MCA has learned.

Turner told MCA the plan was to grow to “anything between six and twelve” sites at a rate of “one, maximum two a year”.

Funding would be via individual investors and bank loans, he said.

He is currently looking to secure leases “to start with” in West London, Oxford, Bath and Bournemouth. “I’m looking at all those,” he said, adding he was being ”very picky.”

Buff & Bear opened its first pub, The Old Ale & Coffee House in Salisbury, Wiltshire, in 2016, as a licensee of Star Pubs & Bars.

The Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire, also in partnership with Star Pubs & Bars, followed two years’ later after it underwent a joint £500,000 refurbishment.

Turner, who runs the business with his wife, Buffy and their partner Shane O’Neill, said he was tied to Star Pubs & Bars for the first two pubs with a couple of guest beers. “They’ve got a good range and I’m free of tie on wines and spirits. I’ve got the right margins.”

He said, however, that all the future pubs he opened would not necessarily be with Star Pubs & Bars. “It’s not important. It’s about getting the right site more than anything else and if I can work with an individual group then that will make life easier for me in the long run but I’m not that fussed.”

Turner said Buff & Bear was “very much about good fresh food [and] modern unique design to disrupt market towns which are dominated by chains and centrally run pubs. I want to be kind of the independents.”

Success was all about attention to detail, he said. “It’s like the very early days of Geronimo but in a different way. I, my wife and my business partner know every detail of the pubs in terms of the design and the pictures and it’s very personal. We’ve designed the Newbury one as if for people who have come to stay in our house.