Growing your business

Small Business Of The Month: The Golden Lion, Keswick

30 July 2018
2 minute read

Emma Doyle

This month’s Small Business of the Month goes to a true Liberis favourite: The Golden Lion in Keswick. The Golden Lion pub is owned by Simone Fellows - who we’ve been working with for about three years now, helping her find the funds to grow her business. And earlier this month, we were lucky enough to have Simone come down to Liberis HQ to chat to us about her business journey and share how our funding has truly helped The Golden Lion to grow!

After taking over the pub in 2011, Simone and her team worked hard to redevelop and refresh business: refurbishing the dated décor, upcycling old furniture, and redesigning the menu.

“We turned The Golden Lion into a gastropub,” says Simone. “At the time, there weren’t any others around here so it was hugely popular. The locals loved it and my son and his friends worked behind the bar. It was incredibly busy, so we really started to put ourselves on the map.”

As the years went by, new competition opened up on the high-street that could offer customers cheaper drinks and different deals, so Simone’s business had to up their offering by opening three letting rooms upstairs.

“We worked really hard over the summer of 2015. Levels of trade were great and we could pay all our bills alright. Everything was looking ok, but in December 2015 there was a huge flood and our road had to be shut down. It stayed like this for six months, and our takings dipped by 50%. It goes without saying, but we were very damaged by all of this.”

Struggling to recover from the flood and the increasing competition, Simone needed to find some additional funding to bridge the gaps in her cashflow.

“When you go into business, you always believe you’ll have the knack for it and that you can accomplish anything. But unfortunately, not everyone is on your side. We needed help but the bank was really negative and they told me flat out “no” - even though I’d been pumping a huge amount through our bank accounts every year.”

And that’s when Simone came to us - via Worldpay Business Finance, our collaborative product built in partnership with payments provider Worldpay.

“When we were in this situation with money, I felt like I believed in the business but no one else did. So when I found Worldpay Business Finance, everything changed. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to carry on moving and grooving. And the best thing about it is that it comes with the beauty of only paying back as we earn! It’s just a phenomenal way to borrow.”

With the additional funding Simone could purchase a new pizza oven which, thanks to its success, paid for itself in just 6 weeks. The Golden Lion have since continued to build upon their food menu further - which has grown from making up 3% of trade, to 60% in just five years – as well as stocking new ales and gins, and even making their own vodka. Simone has also been able to spend more time and effort developing her second business, a traditional teashop selling baked goods and fresh vegan soups.

Attending her talk earlier this month was a truly inspirational experience, and we can't wait to see what Simone does next!

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