Richard Holden enjoyed a very busy Small Business Saturday across his North West Durham.
Every year, in the run up to Christmas, small business Saturday marks an important moment to remind everyone of the fantastic local businesses providing products and services across our towns and villages.
It’s always vital to listen to what our small business owners have to say and hear about their businesses and our local Federation of Small Businesses - FSB have been amazing in working with me in recent years and linking me to local businesses.
- Caitlin’s Sweet Treats and Cakes on Willington High Street is a cracking little business. Started three years ago today, Caitlin is doing a cracking job with her great cakes and tray bakes. Also, this year, she’s doing special gifts for our K-9 friends this Christmas with stockings! Pop by to get yours!
- Mapp's Mortgage & Insurance Ltd in Crook are just seeing their latest apprentice - Teegan - complete her level 3 and join the firm full-time! What a cracking local firm they are run by Peter Mapp and his sister Vivienne Page now employing another seven full-time staff. To get their apprentice through and sorted they worked with Cheryl and the team at Association of Employment and Learning Providers - AELP to help get the right apprentice and course and everything sorted and will be doing so again in future as they have before!
- Easy Lift based in Blackhill, Consett have been going for 15 years and now employ 18 people. Working across the North of England from their base off Park Road they’re a lovely family firm who do loads of great work with stairlifts, including maintaining, reconditioning and fitting them. They’re looking to expand again and offer some really good products and services. If you want to rent or buy a stair lift - they’re clearly very switched on & offer a good service.
- Our local small businesses include some very specialist and high tech firms too. That includes Durham Genome Centre in Lanchester. They’ve grown and now employ almost 20 people since they started in Lanchester. The excellent and specialised work they do - including a lot of research ensuring that people get personalised medicine (i.e. the right drugs that match with the patients DNA to combat specific types of cancer) is amazing to see and because they don’t shout about it too much goes largely unnoticed. Thanks to Dr Sullivan and Ms Allcroft for showing us round these phenomenal facilities. It’s great so see such high level life sciences work happening in a small business in our area.
- Popped by Greenfield Farm to meet local business owner Diane Chapman. She runs the well regarded garage and MoT centre in ShotleyBridge and also has a small holiday let business near Rowley. Very interesting to hear about their well-established local business and how they maintain a great local client base over a long period of time.
- My final visit was to Prydale Partners (http://www.prydale.com) based out of Rookhope, Weardale and run by Andrew and Jane who have been in the North East for 20 years and offer therapy and counselling services across the country. They also brought up their four children in the area. Before working in mental health services, Andrew had worked in the Royal Navy during the first gulf war and also spent 15 years at Marks and Spencer. With a small residential facility on site as well it was very interesting to hear the challenges and rewards of running such a unique business.
Best wishes to all the small businesses in our area and thank you to those I’ve visited for showing me round and helping me learn more about what they do and the challenges and opportunities they’re facing.
P.S., if you run a local business and want to get in touch, please drop me a line via www.RichardHolden.org.uk/contact - my team and I will always do everything we can to assist you.