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Ray and Mary Barnes – Taunton House Bed & Breakfast

Photo - Ray and Mary Barnes - Taunton House Bed and Breakfast; enterpirseGY case study

When Ray and Mary Barnes made the life-changing decision to move to Great Yarmouth and run Taunton House Bed and Breakfast, one of their first stops for advice was enterpriseGY, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s business support service.

Today, having completed their third season, they are rated sixth out of 101 listings on the TripAdvisor reviews for Great Yarmouth and have won the website’s award for excellence, with plans to soon promote the guesthouse as a pamper and wellbeing retreat for residents and visitors alike.

But in early 2014, before they had even taken over the business from its previous owners and welcomed their first guests, they paid a visit to enterpriseGY to ensure they were prepared and everything got off to a good start.

Mary said: “Before we bought the Taunton House, enterpriseGY business advisor Guy helped me write a business plan. I went to every single workshop that was available. You didn’t feel silly asking questions, they’re very approachable. I can’t praise them enough, they were just spot-on, and even now we go to the lunchtime networking sessions.”

After taking on the historic property, in Nelson Road South, the couple started an ongoing programme of investment, renovating the kitchen and basement. The couple, who have three children and one grandchild, have also brought their own friendly and person-centre approach to customer service.

In line with their ethos to help people de-stress,  Mary, who previously worked as a specialist public health nurse, has plans to develop out-of-season business by offering a pamper and wellbeing retreat service with the help of a network of eight therapists, most of whom she met through enterpriseGY.

Ray, formerly an electrical engineer, said: “This has been quite a learning curve for us. We would’ve still bought Taunton House if we had never gone to enterpriseGY, but would have not benefited from their expertise and it has also given us validation of our ideas.”