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After 13 years of working at Horgan’s Sandwich Bar at Aston Cross, manager Elaine Halliwell has been able to realise her dream of buying the business, thanks to ART.
Horgan’s offers a takeaway breakfast and lunch menu, as well as a buffet lunch service for local businesses. “I asked the owner to give me first refusal if he ever wanted to sell,” explains Elaine, “but when he told me a few months ago that he did, I was scared as well as excited. I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to do with the business – add halal, vegan and weight watchers options to the menu, re-decorate and create an eating area outside overlooking the canal - but I didn’t know where to start to find the finance.”
Elaine looked to ART for help. “The staff at ART are ace,” she says. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They were so supportive and helped to put a package of finance together for me with Barclays. I got so much more than just the money. They gave me the confidence to go ahead.”
ART is owned by its members – both borrowers and investors - and helps borrowers to preserve or create local jobs for local people. Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART, explains: “Our approach is less formal than the banks’. We are able to act quickly when necessary and have more flexible terms and conditions.”