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Hartlepool couple launched a business after help with a relative’s wedding

Sarah Thorpe (centre) of UK Steel Enterprise with Linda and Kevin Kelly in their new premises in the Innovation Centre at Hartlepool.
Sarah Thorpe (centre) of UK Steel Enterprise with Linda and Kevin Kelly in their new premises in the Innovation Centre at Hartlepool.

A firm which started out when a town couple helped out at a family wedding has proved to be such a success it has outgrown its home.

Arden Hire, set up four years ago by Linda and Kevin Kelly, is now operating from office and workshop space at the Innovation Centre on Queens Meadow Business Park, run by UK Steel Enterprise.

Sarah Thorpe (centre) of UK Steel Enterprise with Linda and Kevin Kelly in their new premises in the Innovation Centre at Hartlepool.

Sarah Thorpe (centre) of UK Steel Enterprise with Linda and Kevin Kelly in their new premises in the Innovation Centre at Hartlepool.

The couple started Arden Hire after they were persuaded to help provide plates for a relative’s wedding and it has gone from strength to strength.

With stock that now includes 400 tablecloths alone as well as crockery, glasses, cutlery, tables, chairs and linen the business was ‘bursting at the seams’ at its base at the couple’s home.

The move will enable the company, which averages around 17 events every weekend and supplied more than 60 functions in the busy two weeks before Christmas, to grow further.

“It was such a relief to move to the Innovation Centre and have the space we needed as well as all the facilities and support and to see the business name on the door,” said Linda, who has wide experience in catering. “This all started when we were looking for equipment to help a relative and thought that we could do better.

“We now supply items for private and business events from North Northumberland down to Yorkshire including weddings with up to 1,000 guests, parties, business conferences and other corporate events.

“We have built up excellent relationships with a number of caterers and venues who use our services regularly.

“We have always been adamant that Arden Hire would be about personal service and we are happy to set tables if necessary as well as delivering and collecting equipment. Business is going so well that we expect to take someone on, especially for the busy summer wedding season.”

Linda and Kevin, who was previously a plant manager, will soon celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary after meeting in their mid-teens.

They are delighted with the growth Arden Hire has made, as business has more than doubled every year, and with their 5-star rating on Facebook.

“Coming to the Innovation Centre is an important step for us,” said Linda. “Our accountants were already based here and we knew it would be just perfect for us.”

Sarah Thorpe, area manager for UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel subsidiary that supports businesses with finance and premises, said: “Arden Hire has been extremely successful operating from a home base and we trust will do even better now it has the space, facilities and support that our Innovation Centres provide.

“Our aim is to give growing businesses the backing and time they need to concentrate solely on growing their core business.”

Details of UK Steel Enterprise’s support for businesses is available from 01642 777 777 and at www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk.