If you know Carlisle, you’ll know Bruce and Luke’s – a buzzing city centre destination, selling some of the best coffee and finger-licking donuts in the region. But how did two ambitious entrepreneurs launch this growing business, and what advice would they give to other people starting out?
When they launched their first business seven years ago, the UK was in the middle of a recession. Unfortunate timing? In fact, according to Bruce and Luke, the uncertainty motivated them to keep going.
“It was tough, but opening during the recession meant we didn’t take anything for granted and as the financial climate picked up, so did our business. At first, having enough money to do anything was the hardest bit – we couldn’t afford staff and we didn’t want to let people down.”
When the entrepreneurs started roasting coffee to supply their own shop, Foxes, they quickly discovered that that no one else in the area was using the same techniques. They now employ over 30 people, supplying coffee to businesses across the country and running their busy café/meeting spot on St Cuthbert’s lane.
“We don’t want to be a lifestyle business – we want to be huge! And being based in Carlisle has been no barrier. We don’t want people to shop locally because they think they should – it should be because there’s a good vibe and really amazing products and services.”
Their secret? Constantly evaluating and improving every element of the business, even down to their banking and accounting. Having a Cumberland Business Account, which integrates with Xero cloud accounting, has enabled Bruce and Luke to ‘work smarter’ and gain real-time insights into their finances.
“We benefit from having a local branch to cash up, and also having a great relationship with the Cumberland’s Business team. Xero is brilliant because we get live information, not just an end of year accounts – so we can operate more aggressively, efficiently, and be agile.”
The pair don’t see their Northern location as a barrier to growing their business, thanks to the accessibility of digital accounting and banking – and have huge ambitions to grow their empire even further.