Archives Month: November 2013

To all those concerned about the destruction of town centres in the UK and lack of retail choice – spend an up-lifting day in Langport. Somerset.

This ancient, cloth manufacturing town and religious site is the home of Kelway’s Garden Centre & Nursery, consistent winners of Chelsea gold medals since 1851 and internationally renowned for their iris and peony collections.

When you have finished planning the re-design of you garden, pop in to the Potting Shed Café for a reviving pot of tea and scone before parking in the free, town-centre car park.

As you look across the road you can’t miss the very stylish Langport Stores, which is a health food shop and deli, full of produce not to be found in the local Boots or Tesco’s.

A few doors up from the stores you will find Lafleures Antiques, full of chic lamps, mirrors, furniture and Lexington bedding.

Once you have re-designed your house as well as your garden you may think of driving around the World famous Somerset Levels. Wait! Just as you get back to your car you will notice something new. Recently, Kitchen Artisan Bakeshop opened right by the car park.

If you are tempted to put your head around the door, beware. If you do you will be hooked – the fresh croissants, selection of unusual breads and pastries etc will put pounds on you just looking at them. This week was a must to sample the mince pies. WOW! Fab–u–lous daarling!

So many towns and villages in the UK are seeing a resurgence of specialist and artisan retailers. Bakers, brewers, jewellers and candlestick makers are beginning to fill the empty shops and offer more choice than the supermarkets and multiples.

Adding to the plethora of entrepreneurs is the significant growth of farm shop outlets. Retailing is alive and expanding – bless ‘em all.

It is fascinating to see all the changes that have taken place in gyms in the 40 years that Armada has been funding equipment for them.

Decades ago, gyms were a large room where guys were pumping iron or working out on cardiovascular machines or trying to knock lumps off one another in the ring.

All that still happens but we have clients now who run operations that are exclusively for ladies or where the machines are solely power plates. Some are for Pilates or yoga or dance, where there are no machines.

In many gyms you don’t pay membership but pay as you use and in others you can get fit and slim for 24/7, if you have the stamina.

We are approached several times every day to fund the complete fit-out of new-start gyms or to asset lease individual items of equipment, whether it’s gym equipment or catering, security or epos machines, et al.

This industry is so vibrant and growing so rapidly that not only is the UK getting much fitter (for some) and reducing our dependency on the NHS, it is doing a great job of creating employment and helping the exchequer.

At Armada we have a great appetite to support this win-win SME sector.

See the case studies on our website.