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Barclays helps flower business bloom

Barclays helps flower business bloom

Last year, orchid-growing business Hollyoak Orchids faced a crisis that threatened its entire future.

But with some expert help and additional financing from Barclays, it's back on its feet and stronger than ever.

When a disease wiped out £100,000 of stunning German orchids, husband and wife team Tim and Janet Morris faced the prospect of watching their plant-growing business literally rot away.

The couple, who discovered a shared passion for orchids at Pershore Horticultural  College, set up Hollyoak Orchids Ltd in 2003. As one of only four growers in the UK, they carefully nurture more than 50,000 orchids within their climate-controlled greenhouses in Pershore, Worcestershire to supply the exotic plants to retailers around the UK.

But last year, a disease affecting the roots of the plants meant they had to destroy most of the stock and threatened to bring their successful operation to its knees.

Tim called on his trusted bank manager, Barclays Agricultural Manager Paula Haycock, for support. Over the next 12 months she worked closely with the couple to nurse the business back to health, advising them how to restructure their cash flow and secure additional funding to help replenish their Bremkens Orchideen stock.

Tim Morris of Hollyoak Orchid with Paula Haycock of Barclays 'If Paula had not stepped in and refinanced our business with a business loan from Barclays, we may not have been here today,' says Tim. 'Despite what you hear, there are some banks and local managers out there who are prepared to listen and step in when required.'

As a permanent tribute to her role in its recovery, Tim has even named their latest Bremkens orchid the Paula Mary. 

'I’m so honoured to have this beautiful orchid named after me – not every bank manager can claim such an honour,' says Paula. 'But the biggest thrill is watching Tim’s business recover and grow – in every sense of the word.'

In fact the business has recovered so well that the husband-and-wife team are expanding, with an ambition to make the orchid the UK’s most popular pot plant. With Paula’s support and advice, they are approaching new stockists and even planning a new website so they can sell their plants online.

'Running your own business is demanding, but the freedom to make your own decisions and implement your own creative ideas are hugely rewarding,' says Tim. 'Paula has supported us all the way.'

'We know entrepreneurs play a really significant role in the economy and at Barclays we’re committed to supporting businesses like Tim’s with our knowledge and experience,' explains Paula. 'I’m looking forward to working with Hollyoak Orchids Ltd as it goes from strength to strength for many years to come.'

The Paula Mary orchid is available through branches of Waitrose and garden centres across the UK.

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2. Lines open Monday to Friday, 8am–8pm. To maintain a quality service, we may monitor and record phone calls. Call charges
3. Average acceptance rate between April 2010 and September 2010 for all credit applications for businessed up to £5m turnover. Excludes online applications.