As a Bank, Aldermore is a major SME champion, providing vital funding for numerous growing companies and getting behind nationwide initiatives like Small Business Saturday UK.
Just as importantly, Aldermore’s offices across the UK are also home to a team of individuals who are truly passionate about small businesses. Not only do these individuals dedicate their working life to helping Britain’s inspiring entrepreneurs achieve success, they also enjoy supporting independent businesses during their free time.
Clarkes Queniborough - nominated by Andrew Lee, PMO Analyst
“Clarkes of Queniborough are by far the friendliest and most helpful butcher you could find! They’re a family run business and are always willing to go out of their way to help you. Whether you’re holding a barbecue for fifty people or have a special Christmas request, they always provided expert advice and quality products.”
After providing fresh cuts of meat to the local community for over 25 years, Clarkes Queniborough has expanded its business to become a renowned producer of premium ready meals, from curries to British classics. In both business lines, the company focuses on sourcing quality ingredients, lovingly prepared by the team at their Queniborough premises.
Room 115 – nominated by Chloe Naseby, Assistant Accountant
“When it comes to my hair, I’m quite fussy and it has taken me a while to find a hairdresser that I’m satisfied with. Room 115 always provide a professional, welcoming experience and I always leave happy.”
Having gained experience at a local salon, siblings Danielle and Kurt Reynolds decided to take the plunge and open up their own hairdressing business by converting their Basingstoke garage into a stylish salon. The pair have now built up a strong fan-base in the community, thanks in no small part to the extra hours they put in to make time for their clients.
My dad - nominated by Kimberley Gillard, Collections Manager for Asset Finance
While not an existing business, Kimberley Gillard had a very personal SME hero to mention:
“I am super passionate about SMEs! After my parents moved out of London, my dad started his own business as a self-employed mechanic, and he was very successful. He regularly left for work at around 4.30am and got home after 7pm, working hard for every job and understanding the impact that relationships with your clients have on the longevity of your contracts. My Dad has been truly inspirational and observing his businesses successes and hardships has had an impact on the way that I deal with SMEs on a daily basis.”
Head to Toe – nominated by Kim Barnes, Compliance Monitoring Manager
“My Chiropodist Hazel Carruthers makes her customers feel very welcome, is always cheerful and does a great job on my feet. Knowing that some of her customers are elderly and may have had problems with the stairs going up to her last shop, Hazel has recently moved premises to a location that is all on the ground level; a real sign of how much she values her clients. She has a very loyal band of staff and it’s always a pleasure to go and see them.”
Head to Toe is a Wirral-based chiropody, reflexology and hairdressing business founded by podiatrist Hazel Carruthers.
Sarto – nominated by Paul Myers, Chief Operating Office
“There’s a menswear retailer called Sarto in Stratford-upon-Avon. It has great brands, brilliant staff and they always give me a great deal. It’s no surprise I keep on going back!”
Opened in 2005, Sarto focuses on providing a broad range of quality menswear brands, including a made-to-measure suit-fitting service by Armani-trained staff. The store prides itself on its welcoming atmosphere and extensive sizing options to suit all clientele.
Aubrey Allen – nominated by Sharon Mandeville, Marketing Director
“I love Aubrey Allen, our local butcher. They have meat that is totally traceable and the most amazing deli; whenever I go into the shop I just feel as though I’ve stepped into a foodie paradise.”
Butcher and delicatessen Aubrey Allen in Coventry perfectly embodies the spirit of small businesses, founded by orphan Aubrey Allen in 1933, who was determined to change in his fortune through entrepreneurship. The business has now become renowned for its commitment to high-quality meat and exceptional service, and was even named National Butchers Shop of the Year in 2012.
Nicholls - nominated by Hannah Holland-Wright, Paralegal
“Some of my favourite gifts come from a local shop in Abergavenny, Wales, called Nicholls. I’ve bought some lovely handmade items, ranging from candles to jewellery. They have such a variety of unusual gifts and the staff are so friendly, always happy to give advice. I know that if I get a gift from there it will be truly different.”
With three stores in South Wales, Nicholls is a family business that has been trading since 1925. The brand offers an extensive range of unique products sourced from across the globe, from clothing and accessories to home furnishings and fragrances.
Beautique 12 – nominated by Ali Humphries, Group HR Director
“I love the team at Beautique 12 in Montpellier, Cheltenham. They’re a really great team who offer brilliant professional care and really friendly, individual service so I always enjoy my experience there.”
Beautique 12 is an independent health and beauty spa set beside Montpellier gardens in Cheltenham. The business focuses on providing cutting edge beauty treatments and indulgent pampering packages within a tranquil, luxurious environment.
Pouting in Peeptoes – nominated by Catherine Casey, Business Development Sales Manager for Residential Mortgages
“Some of my favourite clothing can be found at Pouting in Peeptoes. I originally found them in Warrington, however they recently relocated to Liverpool to bigger premises to expand their range. I’m looking forward to visiting their new premises, as their personal service and attention to detail cannot be matched, not to mention the different selections they now have in their bigger store! They are always keen to find the right item for an individual and will help source it if possible.”
Run by vintage clothing lovers Sal and Eve Yarwood, Pouting in Peeptoes is a boutique fashion store specialising in 50’s inspired rockabilly clothing and accessories. The pair originally trained as hair and makeup artists and also offer styling services to complement their retro fashion offering.
The Flower Lounge – nominated by Lisa-Jayne Round, Customer Communications Executive
“I recently got married and used a local Manchester florist, the Didsbury Flower Lounge, for my wedding flowers. They provided a fantastic service, delivering flowers to four different venues on the day and even managed to wrap two wooden cross beams in pink roses, hydrangeas and stocks, all tailored to my requirements of course! I’ll be using them again in future as they deliver nationwide.”
After just five years in business, The Flower Lounge in Didsbury has quickly gained a name for itself, even being named a national finalist in the 2014 Wedding Industry Awards. The company is run by founder Sian Wild, who admits floristry is her passion first and career second.
Which independent businesses will you be turning to for Christmas essentials on Small Business Saturday UK, taking place on the 6th December? Share your nominations with Aldermore on Twitter to add your own SME heroes to the Bank’s #SmallBizChristmas list.
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