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BUSINESS

ECHO

★★★★

Videos through the Keyhole

Jewels in the city’s business crown

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Events firm goes Gaga at festival

Start Survive Thrive

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DAVID Al-Hadithi, director of The Design Foundry, will deliver a seminar on how PR can help showcase a company in the latest of the 60 Really Useful Minutes series hosted by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce this Friday. “Everything you’ve always wanted to know about PR but were afraid to ask” is free to chamber members and will last from 9am to 10am. Book online at liverpoolchamber.org.uk

POKER FACE: Lady Gaga performs at the ECHO Arena last year

Picture: JASON ROBERTS

EVENTS management firm SK Events will this weekend promote North West food and drink to some of the music world’s biggest stars – including Lady Gaga. Liverpool-based SK, which organises the annual Taste Cumbria Food Festival, will be serving up Cumbrian produce to performers and crew at Radio One’s Big Weekend in Carlisle. The stars, who also include the Black Eyed Peas, will dine in a VIP yurt backstage.

THE sixth Spirit of ● Merseyside Awards take place on June 7, at

BANKERS TO FACE CITY SMALL FIRMS by TONY McDONOUGH Deputy Business Editor

SMALL business owners from across Merseyside will today come face-to-face with the UK’s biggest banks and get to question them directly about lending. Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free half-day roadshow which will see the chief executive of the British Bankers’ Association, Angela Knight, address business owners directly. The Better Business Finance event

British Bankers’ Association chief at chamber event

will also be attended by representatives of Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Santander. Speaking to the ECHO ahead of the roadshow, Ms Knight admitted the

banks had “made mistakes” but insisted they were prepared to work with and help small firms. “We are not perfect and we don’t pretend otherwise,” she said. “But 80% of applications for funding are being granted and businesses are paying back loans at a greater rate than ever before. “One of the questions that we need an answer to is whether the issue is about supply or demand. “We are going to pay for some proper surveys to look at this and we will be speaking to 5,000 businesses every

LiverpoolCommercialDistrictBIDBallot 29thApril–27thMay. VOTE

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quarter. We hope to release the first figures end of June or start of July.” Today’s event, which will be attended by more than 90 small firms, will seek to ensure businesses understand how lending decisions are made, what sources of finance are available, how to write clear funding applications and how the appeals process works if an application to borrow is turned down. Jack Stopforth, chief executive at Liverpool Chamber, said: “We see the banks coming to Liverpool as an excellent opportunity for small businesses in the area.”

the Philharmonic Hall. The event is hosted by the Community Foundation for Merseyside and celebrates the achievements of the region’s community and voluntary sector. Actor, writer and comedian Neil Fitzmaurice will compere the evening. To book tickets visit www. liverpoolphil.com or phone 0151-232 2417.

THREE free workshops have been arranged to help people looking to set up new social enterprises or community organisations. The workshops have been organised by LCVS United Way and will take place at its offices at 151 Dale Street on May 23, June 22 and July 21. To book places, call Jane Peet on 0151-227 5177 or email info@lcvs.org.uk

SPEKE-based ● Choice Online, and Netherton-based Clearer Thoughts, are running a second free social media marketing workshop on May 19. Phone 0151 285 3656.

Yourdistrict. Yoursay.

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2 NEWS

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

★★★★

BUSINESS HALEWOOD CHIEF TO ADDRESS MAS EVENT

SMALL and mediumsized manufacturing firms are invited to a free business conference by the regional office of the government-backed Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). Elevating Excellence will take place on June 16 at Manchester United FC’s Old Trafford stadium, and will consider the two themes of quality and continuous skills improvement, which have been based on industry feedback to MAS during the year. A panel of industrialists and key-note speakers includes Richard Else, plant director of Jaguar Land Rover’s Halewood site. Delegates will hear how to drive order books, reduce operational costs and position themselves for future growth. They will also have the opportunity to meet potential new customers and suppliers, learn about innovations to transform their businesses, as well as learn about sources of practical support. The event will begin with an 8.30am early morning speed networking session, which proved a hit with attendees last year, and factory tours of key north west sites are being arranged for the following day. To register please visit http://journey9. co.uk/MAS, call 0161 831 0261 or fax 0161 425 1069.

MILESTONE FOR LOBBY GROUP

PRIVATE sector lobby group and networking club Downtown Liverpool in Business (DLiB) is celebrating its seventh anniversary this week. The brand, established by former politician Frank McKenna, is now established in Manchester and Preston, with a combined membership of nearly 900 companies. Mr McKenna said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone.”

SMALL

BUSINESS of the Week

T

HE diverse nature of Kris McDonald’s Keyhole Productions is probably a throwback to its embryonic days back at Knowsley Community College in 2004 when he and his fellow students were working on the germ of a business idea. In order to fund the purchase of camera equipment to make their short films and corporate videos they sold key rings for venues and parties. Kris, 23, said: “We had four people making key rings.” And after his film and media course at Knowsley he did a spot of DJ-ing to raise cash for his video and photography work at Liverpool John Moores University where he gained a 2:1 in media professional studies. The JMU course involved theory and practical work relating to TV, but he added: “There was an element of business to it, too. “One of the bonuses was that after you finished, when you would be selfemployed as a camera operator, there were some good money-saving tips.” Following Kris’s graduation in 2008 Keyhole Productions took off in earnest, staffed by five colleagues who had all met during their days together at Knowsley and JMU. Kris said there was never any doubt about which path his career would take: “I have always loved films. “My dad bought me a little handycam when I was about 10 and we did little films on that. “I have always wanted to do videos, but the main barrier was cost.” In the three years since the FACT building-based business took off it has established itself in the city’s creative quarter and developed four key strands. The mainstay, Keyhole Productions, creates films for a range of clients. Bandinabox is an online TV channel for unsigned bands who Kris’s team films while playing shows they organise in cities around the UK featuring up to 10 groups at each gig. The film, including backstage interviews, can also be used by the bands as a promotional tool to hopefully clinch a record deal. So far there are more than 700 videos which have had more than 170,000 views over the past 18 months. Kris said: “It’s hard for these bands because everyone expects to see them or see a production of their material.” A third venture, FreshboxTV, is a youth scheme funded by Liverpool Council. Kris explains: “We work with young people making films about issues affecting them in their community. “We work with about 100 young

Looking through Keyhole to a bigger picture Neil Hodgson talks to Keyhole Productions founder Kris McDonald people around the year and have done films about hate crime, which involved the Anthony Walker Foundation and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.” Huyton student Anthony, 18, was murdered in 2005 in a raciallymotivated attack. Sophie, 20, was killed in Rossendale in 2007 after an attack which was believed to have been provoked due to her wearing “gothic” clothing. Kris added: “We’ve also worked with Merseytravel on disabled hate crime

and transport and we’re doing a project at the moment with young skaters about their need for a skate park.” Finally Keyhole Studios is a commercial photography business aimed at the weddings, family portraits and modelling sector. But Kris said the production business is the strongest of the four strands, working in both the commercial and corporate worlds. “We’re working on a project for

Lancashire Police doing an anti-terror learning tool for schools and businesses,” he said. Another current project is production work for a new TV documentary on Liverpool’s musical heritage. ‘Get Back – The City That Rocked The World’ will cover the period from 1945 to the present day and will probably be broadcast towards the end of this year. It is another step towards Kris’s ambition of winning more television documentary assignments, which has been bolstered by a budding working relationship with producer Roger Appleton who has an established pedigree with C4 and the BBC. One of his most recent TV projects was Passport to Liverpool, a documentary broadcast on BBC4 last year about the maritime history of Liverpool and how it has helped to

Focus on franchising to promote social enterprise LIVERPOOL will host a major national conference next week to promote franchising as a way of expanding the social enterprise sector. Shared Growth is being staged at St George’s Hall on May 17, featuring a range of speakers and workshops to explain the benefits of replicating and licensing

social businesses. Experts will include Agnieszka LewonowskaBanach, the manager of a franchised Le Mat hotel in Krakow, Poland, called U Pana Cogito; Robbie Davison from Can Cook in Liverpool; and Guy Turnbull from Care and Share Associates. Organiser Val Jones, from

Social Enterprise North West, said: “Most people in business are looking for the next big idea, but sometimes that’s not the best route to take. There are already business models out there that could be franchised and replicated. “The benefit is that they have a proven track record in success which, for a social

enterprise, is particularly important as they can demonstrate how the community will benefit from the business.” As well as the key-note speakers the event will stage a series of practical workshops to explore different growth options and look at what skills and resources are needed to

replicate businesses. The conference forms part of a major initiative on Merseyside, Steps To Success, which is funded by the European Social Fund to stimulate the growth and development of social enterprises. Visit www. eventbrite.com/event/ 1575485319 for details.


★★★★

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FOCUSSED: Kris McDonald, of Keyhole Productions, has been making films since he was 10 years old Pictures: ANDREW TEEBAY

Do you want to be our Business of the Week? Contact Neil Hodgson 0151 472 2451 or email neil.hodgson @liverpool.com

shape the character of its citizens. So far, the Keyhole stable is probably exceeding its original business plan: “We’re doing better than we had hoped for. Turnover last year was about £80,000 and for the current year we’re hoping for about £140,000.” Last year Kris and his team was fortunate to win the Young Entrepreneur category of the Morgan Foundation awards which seek to help entrepreneurs across the region. He said: “The cash prize of £10,000 allowed us to take our foot off the pedal and analyse what we were doing. “But it also allowed us to evaluate what we were doing because you get some business mentoring as well from people like Barclays.” And he said the man behind the awards, Liverpool entrepreneur Steve Morgan who founded the Redrow construction company, proved to be a real inspiration: “He is so open and easy to speak with. “We’ve been talking about doing some work with Redrow, so we have benefited from a business point of view just seeing the structure behind their organisation.” Encouragingly, he said there has also been a general upturn in their markets. “Every business is looking for web content and video content online, from cake shops to big companies, which is opening up the market for smaller businesses like us.”

NEWS 3

‘ZOMBIE’ FIRMS AT HIGH RISK

STRUGGLING “zombie” companies are at serious risk from any interest rate rise, accountancy giant KPMG has warned. KPMG, which polled 400 bankers across the North, says those firms are also staying in banks’ “intensive care units” for an average of two years – twice as long as they were in 2009. Zombie companies are just surviving but have little room for manoeuvre in the event of new cashflow issues. They can have large debts and, while they can meet interest payments, struggle to repay the capital. Brian Green, KPMG’s head of restructuring in the North West, said: “There has been an increase in the number of Northern businesses that ares in a zombie state, with the problem growing in parallel with the economy’s failure to grow. “It’s a serious problem as it means our regional marketplace is increasingly vulnerable given it takes only one bump in the road for these companies to be knocked over. “These zombies have a variety of issues that become more paralysing over time. For example, management may be demotivated by their lack of equity value, the lack of money available to achieve a turnaround and the fact their debt is underwater.”

HSBC BOOSTS SME INCENTIVE

EDITING SUITE: Kris McDonald (left) and Greg Nelson at their base in FACT, Wood Street, Liverpool

HSBC has enhanced the recently launched Employer Loan scheme to support growing businesses that create new jobs. The loan initially offered a discount of 1% off interest rate payable per additional employee recruited in the previous six months, with a maximum 3% discount. Now, the loan has been enhanced to enable businesses that recruit in the six months after taking out the loan to benefit through cashback on interest paid at the end of the loan term.


4 NEWS

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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BUSINESS

BIG ‘Every waste B product can be turned into a resource’ INTERVIEW Alistair Houghton talks to Bill Shaw, chief executive of Environmental Waste Controls in Knowsley

ILL SHAW’S company Environmental Waste Controls (EWC) is determined to prove the old saying that where there’s muck, there’s brass. Knowsley-based EWC provides recycling services to councils and businesses around the UK. It runs 30 civic amenity sites, where people can drive up and dump waste products from bottles and newspapers to televisions and washing machines. And it collects and recycles waste from 300 firms. EWC then sorts that waste and sells it on. The business is growing rapidly and today turns over £24m a year. But Shaw and his team believe there’s more growth to come as demand for recycling services is still growing – and so EWC is set to float on London’s Alternative Investment Market to raise £4m. That will fund its “aggressive” growth plan to open more large recycling sites. And EWC is still thinking of new ways to make money from the waste it already processes. One idea is to recondition the many televisions dumped at its sites, so they can be sold abroad. And another venture will surely interest the bargain-hunters of Knowsley. Shaw says: “We end up with thousands of items of bric-a-brac at our civic amenity sites – such as pictures and ornaments. “So we take a lot of that bric-a-brac to an auction that we run in Leeds. We turn over £40,000 a month from that auction. We plan to open another auction house in Merseyside. We’ll house it somewhere in Knowsley. It’s a way of driving value from waste.” Shaw, who became EWC’s chief executive last year, is this week meeting potential investors in London. And to showcase what the company does, he carries a “bag of props” containing a piece of used copper wire, a scrap of fabric and a chunk of plastic. He is telling investors how EWC plans to invest in larger recycling sites to sort the waste it collects – and make more money from it. “One thing I’ve learned since being involved in this company,” he says, “is that there is value in waste. I’m almost convinced there’s no such thing as waste. “More and more, every waste product can be turned into a resource. It’s just a question of how difficult it is to do that.” Shaw and the management team have ambitious plans to grow EWC’s sales to £40m and beyond. The key, he says, is opening more large Material Recycling Facilities (MRF) centres, to give EWC staff

room to sort waste before selling it to other recycling firms. And, to demonstrate that point, Shaw brings out his props bag. “Copper wire is a good example of adding value,” says Shaw, brandishing a piece of wire encased in yellow and green plastic. “We could bale that wire and sell it to a commodities dealer for £1,800 a tonne. But if we get a plastic stripper and strip off the coating, you’re talking £5,500 a tonne for the copper, and £200 a tonne for the plastic.” EWC already has MRFs – Shaw pronounces that “merfs” – in

Knowsley, Neath Port Talbot and London. By the end of this year, it hopes to have opened sites in London, Leicester and East Kilbride, near Glasgow. Shaw says EWC may consider opening an MRF in the West Midlands – a densely-populated area with a shortage of recycling sites. To open these MRFs, EWC needs cash – hence its aim for AIM status. But there are, says Shaw, other advantages to joining the stock market. “The funds will help,” he says. “They will clear most of our debt.

‘This business is exciting for me because I really believe in it’

“There’s also a kudos attached to being listed. “We have our eye on some tactical bolt-on acquisitions. Being able to offer shares will help with that. “And being able to offer shares help us to retain the staff we have now and attract those will need in the future. “Our founder, Bill Edwards, has always had the ambition to float the business at some point. Now we feel the time is right.” Edwards founded EWC in 1993 and still owns the firm. He has now stepped back from day-to-day management at the firm, but will retain a large stake after it has floated. Shaw says: “For me, he’s a great sounding board. It’s useful to have someone like Bill to call on.” Evertonian Shaw is a chartered

chemist who joined the North West Water Authority – now United Utilities (UU) – 35 years ago. By the time he left UU last year he was its operations director, leading the provision of water and waste water services. Three years ago, Shaw decided to gain new experience by taking on another directorship – and joined the board of EWC. Shaw left UU last March and joined EWC as part-time chief executive. He says: “I worked for three days a week until July, but it became obvious that if we were going to take the business to the next level, we couldn’t do it with a part-time chief executive.” Shaw says the demand for recycling services will continue to grow as the Government continues its push to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and as more


★★★★

NEWS 5

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

IT’S THE

LAW with

A

BRIGHT FUTURE: Environmental Waste Controls chief executive Bill Shaw is looking for ways to make money from waste

READY TO RECYCLE: Baled card at EWC’s Knowsley base and more green regulations are introduced. He is also confident that EWC can win more local authority contracts based on its track record. “We have 13 sites for Leicestershire County Council,” he says. “When we took over the contract, the recycling rate for those centres was 39%. Three years later, it was 74%. That saves the council £1.4m a year in landfill costs.” Shaw, who lives in Warrington, is a keen golfer. But he expects that working at EWC will keep him away from the golf course for some time yet. “This business is exciting for me because I really believe in it,” he says. “I will be investing in this organisation. I believe in the team and I believe in the sector.”

ON SITE: Bill Shaw meets employee Kelly Richardson at the company’s Warrington household waste recycling centre

PPARENTLY as many as 25%-33% of all job applicants seriously lie on their job application forms or in their CVs. The length of employment, past salary, criminal record and past job titles are the most common pieces of information, which have been falsified. To have virtually a third of all job applicants lie when applying for jobs raises a number of questions, not least about recruitment practices. Good hiring decisions require as much information as can be obtained about an applicant as possible. Whether the potential employer or a recruitment agency obtains this should not make any difference as long as there is a thorough investigation into the information provided. After all, employers are looking to recruit for the long term with each member of staff being recruited to add value to the employer’s business. Clearly, more care needs to be taken over recruitment by employers. References should always be requested and followed up, particularly for the more senior posts. If dishonesty is endemic before recruitment, what about the honesty of employees in general? Again, employers need to be vigilant at all times. Whether it’s a question of “borrowing” items of stationery to wholesale surfing of the Internet for personal use contrary to instructions, these are issues of honesty. There is a huge amount of trust placed in employees by employers of all sizes, however, the smaller the employer the more each and every employee counts. So what employers to do to avoid being taken advantage of by employees? The answer clearly is to have clear and precise policies and procedures in place.

This starts with a contract of employment. Every employee must receive terms and conditions of employment from his or her employer within two months of starting work. If an employer is lax in this crucial step then he is likely to be lax throughout employment. The terms and conditions of employment should refer to all the rules and procedures of the business. This might be by reference to specific policies or to a staff handbook. This not only deals with the various rules and procedures an employer wishes staff to follow, but should also refer to disciplinary and grievance procedures. With the growth of Internet access, emails and mobile phones, it is essential for employers to have an up to date robust Internet access, mobile phone and e-mail policy in place – and to police it. Employers need to think very clearly before allowing access at work to social networking sites such as Facebook, My Space, Twitter and the like, which utilise a huge amount of time in the workplace. Another area to be wary of is the use of staff purchase schemes where members of staff can take advantage of their employer’s services or purchase products at reduced prices. Sometimes these concessions are used by employees to purchase goods for their friends and family. Where employees are aware of and follow the rules and regulations that apply to them, this makes for a more harmonious workplace which is always to be encouraged. This column was brought to you by employment law specialist ELAS, Employment Law Advisory Services. For more information call the ELAS advice team on 0161-785 2000, or send an email to info@employmentlaw.uk.com


6 NEWS

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

★★★★

BUSINESS

ASPARKLING

Tony McDonough talks to the Liverpool businesses providing a bit of glamour

FOCUS . . . on jewellery designers

A

LICE HUGHES was first inspired to design and sell jewellery following a trip to New Zealand. She was overwhelmed by the beauty of the natural environment of the country and saw great potential in producing individual pieces of jewellery based on plant and shell designs. While she was out there, Alice enrolled on a jewellery making course run by a man called Ray Mitchell. He made the “One Ring” used in the blockbuster film trilogy, Lord of the Rings. She said: “I was totally inspired by the country – by the plants and the shells – everything is on a larger scale and I felt totally overwhelmed.” That was in 2004 and shortly after her return to the UK she set up Alice In Wonderland Jewellery. The business has traded steadily over the last few years with Alice working out of premises in and around the city centre. She now has her design studio in her Sefton Park home and is embarking on a rebranding of her business which will now simply be known as Alice. The rebranding came about after Alice sought out help from top brand consultancy, Elmwood, run by Jonathan Sands. She said: “Elmwood is a global brand company. I went to their office in Leeds and sat down with Jonathan and five of his colleagues, and they gave me their ideas. “He advised me to call the business Alice. He felt it was stronger and would fit into the luxury market better.” There are two strands to the business – tailored jewellery designed and made to order and a fixed range of collections each with different themes. They are Diamond Violet, Bridal, Snow Queen, Grasses and South Island and each collection has its own coloured gemstone. Alice has stayed true to the roots of her business with her designs continuing to be based around natural themes. Prices start at £150 with tailored pieces with jewels costing up to £1,200. She added: It is all about the beauty of nature and trying to recreate that in a piece of jewellery. “Colourful gemstones are used to

BEAUTY OF NATURE: Alice Hughes, here showing off one of her pieces of jewellery, has renamed her business Alice create each piece and the focus is very much on creativity and quality.” As well as designing in her home studio, Alice also has an office in Silkhouse Court, in Liverpool city centre’s business district, where she holds meetings with clients. Typically, they may be couples looking for Alice to design and make wedding or engagement rings. She is currently working on a design for one client featuring a blue diamond. “I am building a high-quality brand that can compete with the likes of Boodles,” she said. Celebrity endorsements can give a business a real boost as Claudia Pink can confirm. Claudia designs and makes costume jewellery out of antique pieces of jewellery. She started off with a store in Quiggins in Liverpool city centre four years ago and now trades from the upmarket Metquarter shopping centre in Whitechapel. Her hand-made masterpieces have become a hit in Merseyside and far beyond and high-profile

customers include Alex Gerrard, wife of Liverpool FC star Steven Gerrard, as well as Coleen Rooney. Claudia said: “I taught myself. I went to university to do fashion design and I have dabbled with all kinds of things including costume design and interior design. “I buy vintage pieces of jewellery and then break it down and put my own design together. “When I started I found people really liked what I was producing and wanted to buy it – no one in Liverpool was doing what I was doing. My only competition was TopShop but what they were selling was mass-produced. “Getting customer like Coleen Rooney and Alex Gerrard really helped because that got me a lot of press. I was featured on GMTV alongside names like Chanel and YSL – and that got the national magazines interested.” Leaving Quiggins was a tough decision for Claudia as it was the place she had forged her reputation. But the opportunity to be based among designer fashion outlets at Metquarter was too good an

opportunity to miss. She added: “The actual shop units in Metquarter were too expensive but they offered me space in the middle which has worked out really well – I think I have brought some colour and sparkle. “My typical customers are the glamorous girls of Liverpool. Alex Gerrard could afford to go anywhere and yet she still comes to me.” However, despite her growing reputation, Claudia has resisted the temptation to hike up her prices, which range from £10 up to £60. “Many of my customers have stayed with me from Quiggins and I don’t want to appear greedy. “Around the Grand National is always a good time for me and I do well in the summer because I will also customize bikinis.” Claudia’s reputation is now spreading further afield and she is now selling her designs through top online fashion site ASOS. She added: “I am in with mainly retailers from London and the South East so really feel like I’m representing Liverpool.”

Picture: JASON ROBERTS

Designer on a budget WHATEVER their budget, Liverpool girls want to look good and are constantly hunting for quality and value. Susan Slater understand this. It was her own love of handbags and accessories that led her to set up Glitz N Glamour in Liverpool Road South, Maghull. The shop sells handbags based on those produced by top designers – but at a fraction of the cost. It also sells jewellery. Susan opened the shop in June last year and has already built up a loyal customer base. She said: “I have done all kinds of jobs – I used to run my own catering company.


TRADE

NEWS 7

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

★★★★

MONEY MATTERS MORE THAN one in five Britons are so financially stretched they are struggling to make ends meet, research indicates. Around 22% of people said the cost of living was now so high that they would be unable to cope if their bills rose any more, according to financial website moneysupermarket.com. A further 30% said an increase of less than £100 a month to their living costs would be enough to tip them over the edge. Households have seen their outgoings rise by an average of £54 a week in the past six months, leaving them with just £247 a month to spare after they have met all of their essential outgoings. Four out of 10 people blamed their tight financial situation on the soaring cost of petrol, saying hikes in fuel prices had had the biggest impact on their spending in the past 12 months. Around 23% of people said the rising cost of food had hit their budget most, while 19% attributed their position to the soaring cost of utility bills. The struggle to make ends

meet has been exacerbated by the fact that many people’s salaries are falling in real terms, with 61% saying they have not had a pay rise in the past year. This has left 77% of people saying they now have to budget every month to make ends meet, rising to 83% among people with children. The situation looks set to get worse if interest rates rise, as is widely expected later this year, with 22% of

people saying they were worried about the prospect of higher mortgage repayments. Around 38% of people said they were concerned as they did not have enough spare cash to save any money regularly, and they could not tighten their belts any further, while 28% said they were stressed about the state of their finances and 10% said they were losing sleep over them. And 17% of parents were so worried about their financial situation that they could not sleep. Clare Francis, personal finance expert at moneysupermarket.com, said: “The increase in the cost of living is something UK adults have had to bear the brunt of. The rising price of petrol and everyday basics such as food and energy have hit consumers hard, and at times it can feel like it is impossible to make any more savings when essentials are rising so steeply. However, there are still small steps that people can take that will help save those vital pennies.”

LOCATION: Claudia Pink at her store in Liverpool city centre’s Metquarter mall

When exceptional people come together, great things happen. When Weightmans and Mace & Jones merged to become one firm on 1 May something special developed.

GLAMOUR: Susan Slater in her shop in Maghull “I love handbags and jewellery and I did some research and thought there was an opportunity. “A shop became vacant and I could afford the rent so I thought why not. “I sell handbags inspired by

designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Chloe. “Some of the jewellery we sell is also designer-inspired too. We have a mixed clientele – from younger to middle-aged.” As well the the shop, Susan

Picture: GARETH JONES

displays her goods at local fashion shows and charity events, as well as at jewellery parties. She added: “Most of the bags we sell are £30 or under – our aim is to keep to market prices.”

Weightmans and Mace & Jones. Together we are stronger. Find out more at www.weightmans.com

with NICKY BURRIDGE, personal finance correspondent


8 NEWS

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

★★★★

Business to Business

BUSINESS

Industrial Property

GREEN PLEDGE AT RENAMED HAULIER

UNITS TO LET Bootle Area 5,000−15,000 sqft. Flexible terms 0151 486 0004

Commercial Premises OFFICE/INDUSTRIAL UNITS TO LET AINTREE 24 hr access. Security provided. Excellent Rates. Call Kenny 0151 524 0033 INDUSTRIAL UNITS To Let. South L’pool 500 to 4000 sqft, monthly tenancy, competitive rents. From £50pw Tel: 0151 427 5051

FOR SALE Large empty shop unit in Knowsley. 15yr lease, with options. Busy parade of shops. Planning permission for hair salon, beauty & sunbeds. Call for details 07802 887588

LITHERLAND VILLAGE SHOP/OFFICE/LARGE UNIT separate, will suit any business 07711 819835 OFFICE TO LET Knowsley Industrial Estate, 1st flr, s/c, brand new decor, 1500sqft, £600pcm 07572 956272

2 STOREY LOCK UP FOR RENT L9. Suitable for Builder £60pw 07715 271522 WELLINGTON RD L15 Variety of Industrial units available now 0151 227 2875

L4 Shop. Ideal Newsagents/ Barber £90pw 07710 498311 PENNY LANE Small office to let. £60pw. 07836 369919

Business For Sale BUILDERS MERCHANTS & DIY Aigurth Vale. Large warehouse, shop, yard & stores s/c flat above, owner retiring, freehold. Long est, tipping truck & fork lift truck £440,000. 0151 727 2231 or 427 9653 CATERING TRAILER & pitch next to Lpool Community College Vauxhall Rd. Well established. Genuine reason for sale £15,000. 07961 735565

CAFE FOR SALE Est 40 yrs, by T J Hughes London Rd. Seats 40, fully equipped. Offers invited 07511 218725 VERY BUSY BEAUTY SALON in Liverpool 10. Contact: magsy2009@hotmail.co.uk 0034 664 199090

H A I R D R E S S E R S Whiston. Well est. Prime location. Call for details 07738 923461 H A I R / B E A U T Y Longmoor Lane. Offers over £1,000 for quick sale. 0151 546 7905 SCHOOLWEAR BUSINESS Liverpool. Offers. Call for details 07821 705425 KHANS Takeaway Smithdown Rd. Licensed, Est business good t/o £250pw. 07919 992132

ABBEY HABIT: A new-look tanker at Abbey Logistics Group. MD Steve Granite, inset, is leading the group’s green push

by ALISTAIR HOUGHTON Business Reporter A SEFTON haulier that has announced a rebranding has vowed to put the environment at the heart of every decision it takes. Abbey Road Tanks, which employs 250 people from its Bootle base, has changed its name to Abbey Logistics Group. The rebranding reflects the way the company has diversified from its core business of transporting raw food ingredients, such as liquid chocolate, to manufacturers such as Burton’s Biscuits. Today, the company also offers

Environment ‘at the heart of every decision’ powder distribution and pallet transport services. Managing director Steve Granite said: “In addition to a change in name, Abbey has adjusted its strategy and vision to make our environmental impact a much higher issue on the company’s agenda. “Whilst we have made great strides to reduce our carbon

footprint in the past 18 months we now feel it is time that the environment took centre stage in everything our business does. “The content of our strategy will not change in so much as we will still work towards greater standards, improved OTIF (on time in full deliveries), continued growth and diversification but the environmental elements of our strategy will be prioritised and expanded upon. “We want the environment to be at the forefront of every decision we make and every solution we provide to our customers. “Our people will know the impacts of their actions on the environment.”

Mr Granite said that in June the company plans to launch a 30-point environmental action plan. He said: “Our commitment is to complete each environmental action on the 30-point plan before the next financial year end. We will display the resulting impacts of the plan on our website on a quarterly basis. “All our employees will be educated on why Abbey is going greener and what role they have to play in the plan.” In November, Abbey said it was spending £1.5m on 15 trucks and six tankers to be delivered over 13 months, starting in March,. It also said it was spending a further £750,000 on its IT systems.

Birkenhead pub proves it’s a cut above A BIRKENHEAD pub and barber’s shop has won the Pub Of The Year award from the Wirral branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Gallaghers, in Chester Street, opened last year after being taken over by Frank and Sue Gallagher. Before that the pub, which dated back to 1826

and was most recently known as the Cain’s Dispensary, had been closed for almost two years. When the Gallaghers took on the Dispensary, they moved their successful barber's shop from nearby Market Street into the pub. The pub’s decor has a

military theme, complete with regimental drums and peaked caps, reflecting Mr Gallagher’s time in the Irish Guards. The interior also showcases pictures of some of the ships built at Cammell Laird. The pub served real ale from the start and Trapper’s Hat, from

Wirral’s Brimstage Brewery, winning a permanent place on the bar. They pub also serves traditional farm cider and has now started selling food. CAMRA says real ale is “one of the few success stories in the downbeat beer and pubs market”. Wirral CAMRA

chairman Allan Machin said: “In these difficult times it's great to hear some good news in the local pub industry. “Frank and Sue have worked hard to create a welcoming pub, with local real ale as a major focus. “We’re delighted to present them with this well-deserved award.”

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Echo Business - 11th May 2011