Grantham florist praises town centre investment scheme as it's given a £50k boost
The owner of a Grantham flower shop says she could not have formed her second outlet without the support of a council grant scheme.
Sue Hodgson, of Flowers From Holland, opened her fresh venture in Westgate in March, targeting the wedding, birthdays and celebrations market; in addition to her existing outlet in St Catherine’s Road, which supplies flowers for funerals and memorials.
Sue was helped with a £5,500 grant from the Town Centre Investment Fund, operated by InvestSK, South Kesteven District Council’s economic regeneration company.
Now, high streets across the district are set for a further boost after councillors recently voted to pump an extra £50,000 into the scheme.
Sue, who was previously chair of Grantham Business Club, saw potential for the second outlet and the support from InvestSK made it possible.
With the £5,500 she was able to refurbish the former Panini premises which had been in quite a state, looking “scruffy and unloved”.
“We refurbished it, with a new floor,” said Sue. “It was redecorated and essentially refitted. The former Panini kitchen was turned into a training room.
“I wouldn’t have done it without the grant. It enabled me to feel able to take the gamble. It meant the cashflow I had saved could go on stock and marketing rather than paint and builders.
“It’s given me town centre presence. It’s attracting new business, for weddings, birthdays, any celebrations and created two new jobs.”
Since the second venture opened, business has been good and better than expected.
Sue continued: “We now have two specialist shops. One for anything to do with funerals and memorials and what I call my ‘happy flower shop’ for anything that makes people smile.”
The businesswoman is full of praise for InvestSK, highlighting its head of town centres Paul Allen and head of economy and skills Jon Hinde.
Sue added: “Without their support, guidance and encouragement, I would not have done it. If anyone has a business idea, or are working from home and are looking to expand, InvestSK are really helpful and supportive.
“I would not have done it without them.”
InvestSK’s Town Centre Investment Fund offers up to £10,000 to help firms with the capital costs of moving into vacant town centre units in Grantham, Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings.
InvestSK’s Jon Hinde said: “InvestSK is here to help local businesses to grow and boost our town centres.
“The Town Centre Investment Fund is a very practical response to delivering on that objective; by breathing new life into empty units, it creates jobs, increases footfall and diversifies the offer on the High Street.
“We’re looking forward to launching the next round of the scheme later this month and seeing more great quality applications covering all four of the district’s town
More by this authorDarren Greenwood