The Apprentice: Small Business in Morley and Outwood

I was brought up in a family with an entrepreneurial spirit. My Dad was a lorry driver who then went on to have his own transport company and then a small bedroom furniture manufacturing business. I remember helping Dad in his factory from 12 years old; helping to make bedside cabinets, sweeping up the sawdust and making tea and coffee for the workers. I was also a bit of a bossy boots, which hasn’t really changed. 

From this age I got an interest in graphic design and used to design logos and marketing material.  Seeing how hard Dad worked and how as a small business owner you really have to be adept at doing all roles within the business from finance, marketing, sales, right down to the office cleaning, made me really appreciate that small businesses really are the core of our British market and we need to do all we can to support and nurture them. Our government are supporting Britain’s businesses – with 400,000 more businesses than in 2010.

At the weekend was Small Business Saturday; which is all about encouraging everyone in the UK to support small businesses, both on the day and beyond. It is held on one of the busiest shopping days of the year – the first Saturday in December. To support this event I have been going back to the shop floor for the day.  I was an apprentice for Janet Best Hairdressing in Alverthorpe; it was a wonderful and fun experience. Janet and her team are very professional but also had an infectious enthusiasm and great customer care. I had to learn to wash the customer’s hair, there really is an art to doing it properly and incorporating an Indian head massage which is all part of the service, and not to mention the tea making and sweeping up the hair from the floor. I do enjoy cleaning though; using elbow grease and the feeling of seeing the results of your efforts immediately.  I first had my hair done with Janet Best nearly fifteen years ago, and throughout she has maintained a good reputation and so it is wonderful to see the business grow from strength to strength and see them expand as they have done in recent weeks.

On the Saturday I volunteered at Sue’s Kitchen and Shake Latte and Roll. Where I served customers, made the drinks and washed the pots.
I arrived at Sues Kitchen and immediately I was kitted out in the uniform which compiled of; a hair net, baseball cap, white polo top and an apron.  They are very health and hygiene conscious.  I was shown how to use the coffee machine and learnt how to make Latte’s and Cappuccino’s. I served the customers and used their three minute dishwasher. Wow I wish I had one of those at home!  There were many regulars who visited the café and I was impressed by how well they cater for vegetarians.  In fact before I was selected to be the PPC; back in April I was conducting public surveys on Morley High Street and I visited Sue’s Kitchen and had a lovely bowl of their homemade Mushroom Soup.  It was very enjoyable and Sue, Ian and the team work extremely hard and produce good quality food.

At Shake Latte and Roll; I was immediately struck by what a buzzing and infectious atmosphere they have. The décor is impressive and very eclectic; a lovely touch was how they incorporated the old with the new by mixing it with artefacts from an old church.  I was greeted with a big welcoming smile by David and Helen the owners.
They have a young and vibrant motivated team, and I particularly liked the attention to detail; the Hot Chocolate, with little gingerbread men, marshmallows and chocolate flakes was particularly eye catching. Here I made tea and coffee’s, served customers, washed and dried the pots.  It was a fun experience and the team certainly care about good customer service.

It really was encouraging to see hard work paying off, the businesses I visited are really booming and have enthusiastic atmospheres that are absolutely contagious. Small businesses should be supported and I am incredibly happy that the measures set out in the Autumn Statement reduce the burden of business rates to help local business grow and create jobs.

It was a valuable experience and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Sues Kitchen, Shake Latte & Roll and Janet Best Hair.

David Holliday from Shake Latte and Roll in Morley commented on Andrea coming to help, saying   ‘its been great to have some real ‘hands on, help on the ground,’ taking a genuine interest in Small Business in Morley.’

Other Information: The Autumn Statement has set out that an up to £1000 discount for local shops, pubs and restaurants in retail premises with a rateable value of up to £50,000

The increase in business rates in 2014/15 has been capped at 2% lower than the 3.2% businesses were expecting.

The doubling of the Small Business Rate relief has been extended until 2015

A reoccupation relief for 18 month with a 50% discount for new occupants of retail premises empty for a year or more. Shake Latte and Roll Sue’s Kitchen Janet Best Hair