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Simone Taylor

The Golden Lion

Simone Taylor 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. Simone 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.

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. Simone’s business had to up their offering to compete, opening three letting rooms upstairs. 

“We worked hard over the summer of 2015. Levels of trade were great, and we could pay all our bills. Everything was looking ok, but in December 2016 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%. We were very damaged by all of this.”

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

“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. We needed help but the bank was negative, and they told me flat out “no” - even though I’d been pumping half a million through our bank accounts every year.”

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

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

“I might 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, Simone has also been able to spend more time and effort developing her second business, a traditional teashop selling baked goods and fresh vegan soups.

"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."