High-flying, globetrotting careers are all well and good, but Gary and Suzannah Coombes wanted to make a change and build something they could be proud of a little closer to home
For Gary and Suzannah Coombes, new Granite & TREND franchise owners in Chorley, Lancashire, becoming partners was their chance to start a new life and spend more time on what mattered most. Both had worked in very high-level careers, with Gary acting as CEO and development manager for a number of large, international brands, and Susannah as a recruitment consultant for a large financial services company.
In many ways, they were the perfect example of a successful career couple, but the long periods away from home were beginning to take their toll.
“For most of our working lives, we’ve been away at least two or three nights every week, if not more,” Gary explained. “We’d been looking at different options for starting our own business for several years, but never found anything that was quite right and my job just kept me so busy.”
Like so many of us, when the first lockdown hit in early 2020, both Gary and Suzannah were forced to take a break. The extra time at home together finally gave them a chance to think properly about their futures. They needed an opportunity to start something new that would take advantage of all the skills they had gained over the years.
“The lockdown was a real moment of realisation for us. I realised I didn’t want to be away from home anymore, travelling all over from week to week. After 30 years, both of us had had enough of putting so much effort into other people’s dreams and ambitions. We started to look for something that we could apply both of our skills and experiences to and build something for ourselves. Franchising offered us the ability to quickly and effectively make this a reality, given the structures and support models that some franchisors can offer,” said Gary.
Gary and Suzannah looked at a huge variety of franchises, ranging from fast food outlets to business brokerage, but something about the home renovation industry kept calling them back. Not only did it seem like the perfect match for their own blend of skills and interests, but it also gave them the opportunity to move into the UK’s biggest growth sectors.
By providing an innovative range of products that allow customers to transform their kitchens and bathrooms with the absolute minimum of mess and disruption, the Granite & TREND Transformations franchise empowers its partners to take full advantage of this lucrative market.
As Gary continued: “Granite & TREND has the whole package: the products, the brand ethos, how it conducts its marketing, and the multiple revenue streams they could offer. All of that made their proposition by far the most attractive. One of the other key reasons for choosing this franchise was the level of support and training, which continues to be excellent. With the Granite & TREND team’s support, we were able to get through all the challenges of the COVID times and also get the support of HSBC in funding, thanks to the strong business case we were able to build together.”
Gary and Suzannah’s showroom opened in July 2021 and are already seeing great things from them. Suzannah has found her new niche in heading up the sales and marketing side of the business in the showroom, while Gary focuses mainly on operational management. By partnering their skills with the Granite & TREND tried and tested franchise model, they had their first installation booked before they knew it and were overjoyed when the customer immediately gave them a 10/10 review.
“We want to establish ourselves as the go-to company in Lancashire for kitchen and bathroom renovation, and the Granite & TREND franchise has given us exactly that. With the launch pad of a global brand behind us, we had everything we needed to get off to a fantastic start,” said Gary.