A Leamington bar, which serves everything from brunch through to evening cocktails, is planning for growth after receiving support.
Hart + Co, in Augusta Place, was opened by Louise Hart four years ago after she’d spent several years in the hospitality sector during her university days in Kent.
The venue has established itself as a place that welcomes everyone, especially providing a safe space for women while its menu items are named after family and friends who have supported Louise’s venture along the way.
It can cater for around 90 people at a time and the décor is very pink, including balloons, furballs, family photos – and even a bathtub!
The business, which opens seven days a week and employs 12 people has been helped by Project Warwickshire – a free recovery and growth business support programme to help companies in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the county, in the wake of the of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. The support is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism.
Louise said: “I always say that I owe this business and the fact we are here to the Chamber.
“I was at a point a few years ago when it was my dream to open the venue but I knew I needed some help and I spoke to the council who pointed me in the direction of the Chamber.
“The advice I received was amazing and really helped me to launch the business and get started in the right way. I’d worked in hospitality but I had no idea of all the things I’d need to know to start a business.
“More recently, I’ve had some additional help on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic when Marie Stephenson from the Chamber has given me one-to-one help.
“It’s been so helpful. Marie has helped me with everything from pricing to help us become more profitable right through to marketing. We are now, we believe, the most followed bar in Leamington on Instagram!”
The business now offers a range of classes – from cocktail making through to jewellery making – and offers table-service cocktails from 6pm through to 10pm.
Louise is also considering creating extra space to offer more opportunities for private hire.
Marie said: “I am so thrilled to see Hart + Co continuing to grow and we are really pleased to have supported her along the way.
“As it’s a fantastic business, created in Louise’s image, she prides herself on giving great service and even ensures all members of staff are given lifts home to make sure they get back safely in an evening.
“Our support has very much been about helping to Louise to be true to herself but ensure that she puts in place all of the fundamentals of running a business to help Hart & Co to thrive.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Business Growth & Support Programme Manager, Gillian Dale, said: “Hart + Co is a great example of the innovative business, driven with real passion and energy by its management and staff, which makes Warwickshire’s hospitality sector so vibrant.
“I am delighted that Project Warwickshire has been such a great source of help to Louise. Warwickshire County Council is pleased and proud to have created and part-funded Project Warwickshire to support our wonderful tourism, leisure and hospitality sector.”