An initiative by Rochdale Borough Council to help new businesses set themselves up has allowed Simpson Furniture, which retails rise recliners and mobility beds, to open its first bricks and mortar store.
The retailer has been given a £5,000 grant and 80% off their business rates during its first year of trading, followed by 50% off in year two and 30% off in year three.
Karen and Gary Simpson own a furniture business in two markets nearby the new store and said they would have struggled to open a shop without support.
Ms Simpson said: “The cost of running a business is so high, I don’t think we’d have opened the shop if we didn’t have the financial cushion that the council support gave us.
“My rates bill would have been about £1000 a month without the grant and that’s a lot to pay up front when you’re trying to establish yourself in a new location and need to build up a new customer base.
“We’ve traded successfully on Bury and Heywood market, so this has given us a great opportunity to expand into a shop unit. We will take on a few new members of staff in the next few months and, if it all goes well, will probably need to employ more further down the line.”
High business rates are an issue for established businesses and can make starting out in the market very difficult for new firms.
Councillor John Blundell, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, business, skills and employment, said: “We extended our business rates sale and start-up grant to Heywood and Middleton town centres, because of its huge success in Rochdale, where it has helped bring 24 new independent businesses since it was launched.
“It’s great to see another business expand and create new jobs and I’m sure that Simpson Furniture will be a great addition to Heywood’s high street.”