York businessman Phil Pinder is backing a campaign to encourage entrepreneurialism across the county after relocating to the region saved his business from near-ruin, following the 7/7 terrorist attacks.
Phil, 38, moved his British Made cufflink business, Cuffs & Co to York in 2006 after his London based business saw a 45 per cent decline in trade following the London bombings. Forced to relocate and operate his business from a van, business is now better than ever and he believes more entrepreneurs should develop their businesses in the region.
Phil, a customer of van leasing company, Vanarama, said: “I had stores in London in both Covent Garden and Greenwich and was just starting to make a name for myself. Then when the awful terrorist attacks happened and the footfall just stopped. I was faced with a tough decision and I knew I needed to move if I had any chance of saving my business.
“Moving to York was the best decision I ever made and I think it’s important for more entrepreneurs to realise the great opportunities available to them in Yorkshire.”
Phil added: “Although my turnover is less than half of what it was in London, my profitability is now ten times higher in Yorkshire.”
Today, he is launching the Vanarama Van Hero campaign to celebrate independent van driving business owners across the region by encouraging people to vote for their local “Van hero” in Yorkshire. The UK’s ultimate champion of the small business community will be revealed in a national final in October 2016.
Phil said: “My van is an essential part of my business and before I had my shop in The Shambles, it was my lifeblood. It’s great to see larger companies like Vanarama support the small business community by helping to promote the work that people like myself do in our local areas.”
Andy Alderson, MD and founder of Vanarama, said: “We want to encourage people to vote for trade’s people in their local communities because they are the backbone of this nation.
“Far too often van drivers receive negative publicity for the wrong reasons but really, the majority of UK van drivers are people like Phil, running their own businesses and following their dreams. We have created these awards to celebrate entrepreneurialism in Britain and will reward the overall winner with a complimentary three-year van lease or £5,000 prize.”
Phil added: “Setting up my own business has been a dream. We have an ideal location in York, I get to spend more time with my wife and our fifteen-month old son, and my commute to work is nothing compared to living in London.
“I’m proud to support Vanarama in celebrating Yorkshire entrepreneurs with this competition.”
The Van Hero competition is open to van driving business owners from all sectors, with entries to be submitted at Vanarama.co.uk/VanHeroes