Those of you who have kept up with progress will know our business model and our premises have undergone a huge transformation over the past 9 months. I am confident most of you will agree that it has been for the better.
Our new business model has enabled a flurry of new businesses to spring up in the heart of Croydon.
BRGR & BEER, our first concession launched in April. The start-up, founded by three friends from Croydon, specialises in offering top notch burgers and a huge selection of craft and international beers. The entrepreneurs recently celebrated 6 months in business. Profitable business.
Under our new model, concessions pay a fixed fee each month for the rights to operate from within our premises. In return, they get a turn-key business, with no lengthy contracts or unfair terms attached. It gives Matthews Yard more stability and reduces our risk, while giving a new breed of entrepreneurs a head-start.
Since April we have hived out virtually every inch of Matthews Yard to local independent entrepreneurs. This collective approach is generating a new buzz about the place. Each concession is not only responsible for and reliant upon the success of their respective part of the operation but also of the operation overall. This unites traders to collaborate more closely than they would, if, say, they had the same businesses next door to each other on the high street.
By working with concessions, Matthews Yard and myself have been relieved of many of the pressures we were under and enabled the business to not only survive, but begin to thrive. There are more people working at Matthews Yard than there have ever been. While we peaked at 14 employees (full and part-time) Our concessions combined have over twenty employees, and they are all just getting started.
Our new model fuels growth. For us, and for our concessions. It could be argued, in the right locations it can help also help fuel the local economy. Over the summer, we received exposure on a regional and national level with features in The Sunday Times (print edition & online), The Guardian, Evening Standard, Time Out, Metro and Londonist, amongst others.
It is scalable. With relatively fixed operating costs and relatively fixed levels of income, it is relatively easy for MY to continue to expand to new premises regularly and with restricted capital. The pace at which it expands (and contracts) is subject to two success factors: support from the communities we join; and cashflow.
Our first attempt at scaling is already underway. Our expansion into Exchange Square, via Unit 1, The Exchange will enable us to reinstate our coworking facility. The new workspace offers a better environment for fledgling businesses to work and grow.
It will be complimented by a public Courtyard which will feature pop-up traders, like Bobski’s. It will also be available for private events. Finally, our new space will feature an Artists Lounge. A relaxed space which is the brainchild of Leoni Descartes, our former General Manager. We hope it will quickly become a focal point for local artists to work, meet, mingle and store materials.
It’s going to take us a few months to complete the space fully, but we are confident that once it’s up and running it will be a welcome addition to the local area and complement the existing offering from Matthews Yard.
A year after being faced with a crisis situation, the future for Matthews Yard is promising. We still have a long way to go until we are financially secure, but for now our debt is reducing each month and our revenues continue to increase. If we keep on the current path of debt repayment, we will be debt free within 18 months.
Another blog post will follow shortly, outlining the most recent changes at MY and any major events which are coming up in the months ahead.
Thank you as always for your support, we need it now, more than ever.