When the owners of a Devon pub, micro-brewery and events venue, embarked on an ambitious project to renovate the iconic 18th century venue, built in the footsteps of a Norman castle, they were met with knockbacks and negativity from banks, rather than ‘cheers and beers’.
But, thanks to the foresight of Redwood Bank, The Totnes Brewing Co is now going from strength to strength – not only bringing the craft beer revolution to the West Country, but also reaping the rewards of a standalone business offering fully-serviced office space for like-minded entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The firm behind the Totnes Brewing Company took out a bridging loan to purchase the property and fund an extensive renovation programme, which saw a number of flats and storage space converted into eight fully-serviced offices.
The renovation of the period property, which boasts the largest 12 pane sash window in Europe as part of its stunning Georgian ballroom, effectively allowed the firm to create and launch a new serviced office venture, known as The Library Rooms, to diversify its business. This was all made possible by £663,000 of external funding from Redwood Bank.
This secured loan allowed the firm to repay the bridging loan in full and repay an element of the cash used to acquire and renovate the property.
Kevin Thomson of IFA Connect, the client’s Financial Advisor who introduced the case to Redwood Bank, said “Initially there were issues with the risk associated with lending to a freehold pub and bar. The sector, and perceived start-up business, made it difficult for us to fund via a high street lender.
“The bridging finance to fund the redevelopment was expensive, and the clients needed a more sustainable long-term solution. Redwood Bank were the solution, and they’ve been brilliant, making fast, common sense decisions which ultimately propelled this local British business into its next period of growth.”
Redwood Bank’s Business Development Manager, John Hall, who oversaw the case, said: “We worked as a team to find the missing piece of the financial jigsaw, which resulted in The Library Rooms, their new serviced offices for local business in Totnes. Having the office units conversion diversified their business and changed the nature of the business for the Totnes Brewing Co and, ultimately, the outcome took away the reliance solely on the pub sector and spread the risk.
John Hall, Business Development Manager (South & East)
“We are delighted to help an entrepreneurial small business grow, helping them capitalise on the opportunities to diversify and become even more successful.”
Now thriving, The Totnes Brewing Co is selling not only their own beer but a huge selection of craft beers from the UK and around the world.
The restored Barrel House Ballroom has a strong focus on original live music and has played host to some of the biggest names in music. It now serves as a 150 capacity venue and can be booked for private functions.
Redwood Bank became Britain’s newest challenger business bank following its launch in August last year. It was launched with a view to offering a real alternative for small and medium-sized businesses looking to either expand their organisation, or simply save for future growth.
The bank’s products include individually-assessed mortgages for business owners and professional landlords, as well as a range of Best Buy savings accounts, which are offered to charities, clubs and associations as well as businesses.
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