Chasing a Triple Success

Staff at Martin Smith Opticians have their fingers-crossed for a “hat trick” in one of the industry’s hottest competitions. The team at the Lincoln practice was on a high when the business was announced a finalist in three categories in the prestigious Association of Optometrists (AOP) National Awards. Optometrist of the Year 2019 – Dr Martin Smith Practice of the Year 2019 Dispensing Optician of the Year 2019 – Sue Edwards Now, staff are looking for further success – but it needs as many people as possible to vote for the practice in all three categories. “It’s is incredibly difficult to win these awards as they attract high quality practices countrywide, but we are thrilled to have got this far and it has simply sharpened our competitive streak,” said Sue. “It would be great to win just one of the awards, but I’d be over the moon if we could clinch all three category accolades. I don’t think any practice across the country has ever won three awards  at the same time, so that would be brilliant! People are being urged to support Dr Martin Smith and his team, by voting via  the AOP website at: https://www.aop.org.uk/education-and-events/aop-awards/aop-awards-2019 Alternatively, they can vote by filling in a form at the Saltergate practice. “I do hope people will get behind us, and support us across the board but, obviously votes in one, two or all three categories,  all count,” said Sue. Votes have to be cast by 5pm on December 12....
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HR Firm Shines at Top London Show

Ambitious HR specialists are hard at work following-up a wealth of exciting new leads after showcasing their expertise at a major business event in London. There’s a real buzz in Amica HR’s headquarters at the Think Tank in Lincoln, thanks to the fantastic response its team received from many of the thousands of visitors who flocked to The Business Show at ExCel in London. Directors David Grech and Suzanne Tricker, along with three of their colleagues, attended the two-day event to promote their wide-ranging expertise and tell delegates they have expanded and opened a London office. Amica HR was really pleased with its position at the Exhibition, the style of its stand and the fact that the firm quickly attracted professionals from across the UK and abroad who were keen to hear about its services. David said: “We decided to do things a bit differently to many other exhibitors, by having a “boutique” stand, which was easily accessible and made it easy for people to stop and chat. “Fortunately, we were also just yards away from two networking areas. That was a real plus point because it encouraged extra enquiries. “We had lots of brief conversations with business owners and managers who were keen to maximise their time at an event, which also featured Masterclasses and top flight speakers. However we also offered half-hour consultations, which were really appreciated by visitors who wanted more in-depth information and advice.” Suzanne said: “Outsourcing was a hot topic. It was amazing how many businesses wanted to know how outsourcing their Human Resources function could help them to reduce their overheads whilst still keeping-up with today’s ever-changing legislation. “We also talked about how our services could help them to grow their businesses and manage people issues associated with today’s increasingly agile workforce and the trend toward more mobile and remote working.” People were interested to know that we are headquartered in Lincoln, but have opened a London base, in line with the growth of our client base in the south and our partnership working in that area. “This year’s event incorporated “Going Global” and one of our most interesting visitors was the senior manager of a major bio-technology firm, which has offices in Hong Kong and Beijing. They asked how we could potentially work with them and we were able to talk about offering leadership training and supporting a culture change programme, as...
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BIG Mission Underway to Raise Lincoln’s Game

Businesswoman Sarah Loftus is on a mission to make Lincoln even more vibrant and successful – and she’s going to get the ball rolling by having some “BIG conversations, with city businesses. Lincoln BIG’s new Chief Executive told its Annual Meeting that she is thrilled to have taken over the reins from her predecessor Matt Corrigan and eager to get on with the job of telling more people what the organisation does and to give BIG levy payers an even better return for their money. Sarah spoke to the gathering at The Lawn, after Lincoln BIG Chair Ursula Lidbetter reported on another busy year for the organisation, which has 800 levy payers, and which generated income of £2 million in the year 2017/2018. A quarter of this income comes from city centre businesses who agree to pay a small levy and the remaining three quarters from Lincoln BIG’s own trading activities and special grant funding for specific projects. The mum-of three who is originally from Skegness, but who has worked around the UK, in the voluntary, private and public sectors, is delighted to be working in the city where she once spent her pocket money! “I have had an amazing welcome and since arriving a couple of months ago, I’ve started get out and about and meet as many of our partners as possible. But I also plan to have some big conversations with our levy payers to see what they want for the future. “The three challenges I want to focus on are making the city safer, cleaner and greener; animating the City Centre which will make Lincoln the “go to” destination and being transparent about what Lincoln BIG does with the levy.” Sarah wants to raise awareness of exactly what Lincoln BIG does and believes the organisation has the power to make a difference. “For example, did you know that the BID brings in £1.6m through its levy, the Shop Lincoln website attracts about 10,000 visitors a month, who want to know about our shopping offer and deals and that, in the last month, our Wardens returned nearly £1,000 worth of stolen goods back to businesses and also removed half-a-mile of graffiti! “As you know, the BIG ballot is coming up next year, so I’ve already started talking about this and surveyed our levy payers to find out what they want to see included in our business...
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Family Business Brings Its Name to Lincoln

An expanding family footwear specialist is investing in another “bricks and mortar” move, after deciding that Lincoln is a great fit for its business. North Shoes is creating a handful of new jobs, after Lincoln commercial agent Banks Long & Co revealed  it has leased the company shop premises in Clasketgate, just off the city’s High Street. The move marks an exciting new twist for the family business – and high-class British shoemaker Loake, which has been in business since 1880.  The latest North Shoes shop will concentrate solely on selling that brand of men’s footwear in what will be Loake’s first official factory outlet. North Shoes Director James North said: “We already have traditional shoe shops in Stamford, Bourne, Oundle and Cambridge, selling a wide variety of brands of men’s, women’s and children’s footwear. “In addition, for many years we have sold Loake shoes at country fairs.  I was looking to further expand our business and it was the fifth generation Managing Director of Loake, Andrew Cory, who suggested we open a dedicated Loake’s shop. “I have always loved Lincoln and often shopped in the city.  Having already expanded our business to the south and the west, I thought why not go north?  I have been looking for the right size of premises for some time and our new double-fronted shop is ideal. “Loake, which is headquartered in Kettering is well-known for its quality, traditionally Goodyear welted men’s footwear and pairs generally retail anywhere from £135 to £275 , but we shall be concentrating on selling clearance and end-of-line shoes,” said Mr North. He added that there has been good interest from jobseekers keen to work in the new shop, which is employing a Manager, Assistant Manager and two other assistants – who will be kitted out with Loake’s branded workwear. Mr North is hoping to welcome the first customers to his new shop before the end of this month. Loake’s Managing Director Andrew Cory said: “It is great to be working with James and his team on another retail project at a time when everyone thinks online is the only future for selling products in the UK. “This is a new departure for both North Shoes and Loake which, with new deliveries and changes to stock every week, will encourage shoppers to visit.” Banks Long & Co Director James Butcher said:  “We are delighted to have assisted...
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Hannah’s Designs are Loved Worldwide

How do you turn a table-top enterprise into a successful business boasting a turnover topping £4 million, in the space of six years – and juggle a family including three lively children at the same time? Business Women’s Link members and friends will be finding out when Hannah Dale of Wrendale Designs shares her story, as guest speaker at the network’s Christmas Lunch on December 6. Hannah, the artist behind the award-winning Wrendale collection of cards, ceramics, textiles and other giftware, will be inspiring diners with her amazing life story – which has seen her go from studying art at school to reading zoology at Cambridge, then  spending five years working as a stockbroker in London – to where she is today. It was her marriage to a Lincolnshire farmer, following by the arrival of their first child, which saw Hannah return “home” and settle in Melton Ross, near Brigg. Her artistic and creative talents came to the fore once more when she began furnishing for friends, then started painting countryside creatures – kicking off with the hare. A friend encouraged her to start designing cards, which quickly proved popular. From those small beginnings, Hannah’s fame and her repertoire soon began to grow. She has gone on to win five prestigious Henries awards for her designs as well as “Gift of the Year” for her stationery and was one of three finalists for the NatWest Everywoman Brand of the Future award.  Now she supplies cards and gifts across the UK and also exports worldwide.  A collaboration with Portmeirion has also seen Wrendale’s name become even more well known. Today, Hannah’s husband Jack is a fellow director in the business and Wrendale employs a team which is continually kept on its toes handling orders, while Hannah does what she loves best – creating more artwork. The BWL lunch, which will also feature music by violinist Stephen Clarke and Friend and a bumper charity raffle (raising funds for Linkage Community Trust), takes place at the Branston Hall Hotel at Branston, near Lincoln, at 12 noon for 12.30pm. Places cost £45 for guests and £42.50 for members.  They can be booked by calling Jessica Eyley on (01522) 508858....
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Historic Pub’s Changing Identity

Excellent progress is being made on transforming Lincoln’s historic Duke of Wellington pub into an eye-catching new home for a top city design business. Today, Optima Graphic Design Consultants managing director Simon Shaw was pleased to report that regeneration work aimed at breathing new life into the former Broadgate watering hole, is going well. “I am delighted with the progress being made and that work to refurbish the building is currently ahead of schedule.  That means, we are on course to relocate from our West Parade offices in February 2019 “Optima currently employs 19 people. But the move will see us double our current workspace and we hope to increase our team. However, our move is a designed to be a longer-term investment which will give us the capacity to employ up to 30 people in the years ahead.” Simon’s update follows Lincoln agent Banks Long & Co completing the sale of the pub on behalf of its former owner, client Lincolnshire Co-op. “We had been looking for new premises for some time and we were determined to find something which would both suit us as a business and be sustainable in the longer term,” said Simon. “We like to think of ourselves as being cool, funky and different.  As soon as I was shown around the old Duke of Wellington, it felt right for us. “There are two aspects to the refurbishment.  We are creating superb working space on the ground floor for our account management and support teams. Then upstairs we are having a fully-functional, light and bright open-plan studio.  It is also great to have parking on site, which is a real plus for us. “The building’s original layout is to be retained, but upgraded to improve its efficiency, through repainting, repointing and repairing or upgrading windows. The pub’s existing signage is also being re-used.” The Duke of Wellington pub is an iconic Lincoln landmark, has stood empty since 2011 and was, at one stage, earmarked for demolition. Once a thriving pub, it once boasted pool and darts teams, hosted upper floor functions and was a place known for its live music.  In the 1980s, The Bivouac Club was based on the first floor and had hosted Pulp, Saxon, Ten Pole Tudor and The Killers. Banks Long & Co Director James Butcher said: “We are pleased to have acted for Lincolnshire Co-op in selling this distinctive...
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