How a cash advance helped me turn disaster into opportunity

Disaster became opportunity for Simone Fellows, when she used a cash advance to help the Golden Lion pub thrive after a flood

Simone Fellows took over The Golden Lion, Keswick in 2011, looking to give an old pub some love and build a new business revolving around great food and family values. Fellows and her staff worked hard to redevelop and refresh The Golden Lion over the following few years; refurbishing the dated décor, upcycling old furniture, and redesigning the menu.

“We turned The Golden Lion into a gastropub,” says Fellows. “At the time, there weren’t any others around here so it was hugely popular. The locals loved it and my son and his friends worked behind the bar. It was incredibly busy, so we really started to put ourselves on the map.”

However, with the pub positioned in the centre of the increasingly busy high-street, competition soon appeared in 2014, with two big-brand venues opening nearby. They could offer customers cheaper drinks and different deals, so Fellows’ business had to up its offering to compete, opening three letting rooms upstairs.

“We worked really hard over the summer of 2015. Levels of trade were great and we could pay all our bills alright. Everything was looking ok, but in December 2015 there was a huge flood and our road had to be shut down. It stayed like this for six months, and our takings dipped by 50%. It goes without saying, but we were very damaged by all of this.”

Struggling to recover from the flood and the increasing competition, Fellows needed to find some additional funding to bridge the gaps in her cashflow.

“When you go into business, you always believe you’ll have the knack for it and that you can accomplish anything. But unfortunately, not everyone is on your side.”

Wanting to avoid borrowing from friends and family, Fellows looked to Worldpay Business Finance after receiving a letter in the post. With them, she could access a better way to get The Golden Lion back on track.

“When we were in this situation with money, I felt like I believed in the business but no one else did. So when I found Worldpay Business Finance, everything changed. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to carry on moving and grooving. And the best thing about it is that it comes with the beauty of only paying back as we earn! It’s just a phenomenal way to borrow.”

Worldpay Business Finance sees leading payments company Worldpay teaming up with UK Government supported, alternative finance firm Liberis; enabling Worldpay customers access to flexible business finance, repaid via card transactions.

Fellows could purchase a new pizza oven which, thanks to its success, paid for itself in just six weeks. The Golden Lion have since continued to build upon their food menu further – which has grown from making up 3% of trade, to 60% over five years – as well as stocking new ales and gins, and even making their own vodka.

“I might just have too much of a heart. But I’m in the business for the long-haul and Worldpay Business Finance have helped me achieve that. There’s no one else who could’ve saved us the way they did. It’s finally enabled me to focus on building the business, rather than worrying about the money.”

With this added peace of mind, Fellows has also been able to spend more time and effort developing her second business, a traditional teashop selling baked goods and fresh vegan soups.