Business Q&A: Simon Taylor, Boroughbridge Marina
Mar 27, 2024
Photo of Simon Taylor, owner of Boroughbridge Marina.

This is the latest in a regular series of Business Q&A features published weekly.   

This week, we spoke to Simon Taylor, owner of Boroughbridge Marina.

Tell us in fewer than 30 words what your firm does. 

We offer a full range of boating services, including equipment and boat sales, repairs, maintenance and mooring. Basically, anything to do with a boat.

What does it require to be successful in business? 

Flexibility is the biggest thing at the minute. And understanding – you’ve got to have understanding for each other’s needs, because not everybody wants the same thing.

What drives you to do what you do every day? 

I just enjoy running the business. I like looking after the customers and seeing people enjoying the marina. I like knowing that it’s their choice to be here, to use the marina in a capacity where they’re enjoying being here.

What has been the toughest issue your company has had to deal with over the last 12 months? 

The weather. Over the summer we had some good weather, but through the winter flooding made life very tough. The marina is obviously at a low point geographically, and if it rains heavily up in Wensleydale, the Ure floods and we get it. That also prevents people from coming down here and getting to their boats.

A large part of what we do is online sales, and we’ve felt the pinch there too. Usually, people spend money on their boats through the winter so they’ll be ready for the summer, but this year it’s been very quiet and people are only just starting to turn their attention to their boats. I think it’s due to the financial situation – people are trying to save money where they can.

Also, when we came out of covid, we all wanted to get out and enjoy being outdoors, and lot of people bought boats. But that means that most of the people who were going to get one have now got one, and the market’s dried up a bit. There are a lot of boats standing idle in garages, without any money being spent on them.

Photo of Simon Taylor, owner of Boroughbridge Marina standing by a jetty with moored boats in the background.

Which other local firms do you most admire and why? 

Newby Hall always seem to have a good way of marketing their experiences. They’ve got a really varied, year-round range of activities on offer – I sometimes feel a little envious of that!

Who are the most inspiring local leaders? 

Anybody in the hospitality trade is inspirational to me, because it’s such a difficult business to operate in. It’s so up and down. I take my hat off to them.

What could be done locally to boost business? 

We get a 75% rate relief because we’re classed as a retail and leisure business. That’s a huge help, and I hope it continues.

Best and worst things about running a business from the Harrogate district? 

The best thing is the fact that we’ve got some really great customers. In fact, we’ve made some good friends through our customers. Also, I love the fact that people use our business for their pleasure. People enjoy being at the marina.

What are your business plans for the future? 

We’re looking at buying the marina from our landlord, the Canal & River Trust. They offered it to us for sale, and all I have to do is raise the funds. I’m hoping to have bought it within the next 12 months.

What do you like to do on your time off? 

My ‘go to’ is motorsport. I’ve got a little Peugeot 205 and do a bit of rally-driving and co-driving. The last one I did – and the biggest one to date – was a five-day event in November that took us through England, Scotland and Wales.

Best place to eat and drink locally? 

I like the Grantham Arms in Boroughbridge – the food there is very good. And in York, we often end up going back to the Cut & Craft, where they look after you really well, and serve superb steaks at sensible prices.

  • If you know someone in business in the Harrogate district and you’d like to suggest them for this feature, drop us a line at [email protected]. 

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