Loan fund boosts the growth of Stoke retailer


A Stoke-on-Trent based retailer of oils, vinegars and spirits has seen business go from strength to strength after securing finance from a local business loan fund.

Kindred Spirits Limited, a company trading under the franchise name of Il Gusto, approached the Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund after its application for a business loan facility had been turned down by a traditional lender.

The Trentham Gardens based business, which offers a range of niche glass-bottled gifts and products, required funding to employ more staff and implement a new inventory management system.

The Director of Kindred Spirits Limited, Lynne Lowther, said: “It was my financial adviser that recommended the Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund after my bank was unable to provide me with a business loan. At this point my business had been established for over 11 years and had bucked the trend during the recession by recording an increase in sales.

“In fact, the shop was performing so well that we made the decision to open a second store in Leek just over 18 months ago. From a strategic point of view my aim was to make the future of the shop more sustainable and safeguard the jobs of 8 employees. I required a business loan to invest in the employment and training of more staff and the sourcing and implementation of a new state-of-the-art cloud based inventory management system. Without funding this leap forward wouldn’t have been possible.”

The Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund, an initiative run in partnership between BCRS Business Loans and Stoke-on-Trent City Council, provides business loans ranging from £10,000 to £50,000 to support the growth of viable SMEs that are unable to secure finance from traditional lenders.

“My experience at BCRS Business Loans was second to none. After submitting my initial enquiry, Zoe Wilkinson, Business Development Manager for Staffordshire and Stoke, visited me to have a face-to-face meeting within 48 hours.

“Throughout the whole application process Zoe was always on hand to provide a detailed explanation of the documents I needed to submit and understood that I was up against a tight deadline, as my previous applications for finance with traditional lenders had wasted a lot of time. I was incredibly grateful for the way in which BCRS Business Loans supported me,” concluded Lynne.

Paul Kalinauckas, Chief Executive of BCRS Business Loans, said: “I am so pleased to see that the Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund is having such a positive impact on local businesses.

We realise that the growth of SMEs is essential to the prosperity of our communities, which is why we established this Loan Fund. With an initial funding pot of £1.5m across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, we will be able to support even more entrepreneurs and boost the growth of their businesses.”

Councillor Janine Bridges, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for economy, said: “It is fantastic news that Kindred Spirits has seen its business strengthened as a result of securing this finance.

“Many businesses have difficulty in raising the capital to invest and grow, and in some cases even to fund ongoing operations. The Stoke-on-Trent Business Loan Fund aims to help stimulate business growth, and create the jobs that the city needs.”

For any Stoke-on-Trent based businesses looking for access to finance please contact BCRS Business Loans through the fast track online application facility at or call 0345 313 8410.



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