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Having taken over Batson Creek Marine at the end of last summer, new owners Chris and Sara are preparing for their first full season helping their customers and holidaymakers in Salcombe to enjoy life on the water. Here they explain what visitors can expect…
How did you come to buy the business?
We had been living in Gloucestershire where Chris worked as a project manager in Swindon and I was a pastoral manager at a primary school, but we have always run our own businesses as well - in particular a narrow boat hire company. Chris grew up spending time on the water, sailing with his father and his skills are far ranging; he has built his own rally car, maintained and serviced his own narrowboats and has his HGV Class 1 licence (so towing and reversing trailers down slipways is no problem for him!)
We’d been coming down to Devon for a long time and had always wanted to move to the coast. It came to a point where we thought we could either grow the narrow boat business further or we could move to the coast, rather than talking about it all the time. Finding a business that was right up our street was the icing on the cake!
Had you spent much time in Salcombe before?
We’d visited here over the years; generally spending time across the South West on holidays. We always holidayed by the coast as we just love, so when we found the right business we just went for it!
Explain exactly what you do?
I (Sara) look after the admin side of the business and Chris looks after everything with the boats including maintenance, storage in winter and moorings in the summer. We also launch and recover boats and generally provide support for our customers on the water, as and when they need it.
We have a small shop in Island Street where we offer paddle board hire and sales - specifically the JOBE brand. We also have three Whalys that can be hired, and we are about to purchase a RIB, which customers can hire for skippered or bareboat charter as well - as long as they have the right qualifications.
We work very closely with Dennis, who originally owned Batson Creek Marine; he runs Salcombe Sea School, which offers powerboat courses, from our shop. We also work closely with Sam at Devon Boat Sales. The other businesses on Island Street have also been very welcoming towards us; Island Street is a great part of Salcombe to work and for visitors to come to - it has its own sense of community.
Spending family time down here and being avid fans of time in and out of the water with our dogs, we know that it’s not always easy to dispose of their ‘parcels’. So one of the things we are also selling are Dicky Bags from Duck Soup - a company in Cornwall. They’re washable neoprene carriers, with a unique odour prevention seal and poo bags for your dog’s ‘parcel(s)’, meaning you don’t have to juggle a plastic bag full of unmentionables around with you until you can find a bin.
We will continue to look at different products and services to enhance what we can offer our customers and visitors to Salcombe.
How do you differ to other similar businesses?
We offer quite a wide variety of services, but mostly we just want to make sure we’re offering really good customer service in everything we do - our philosophy within business is based on how we would like to be treated – for customers to know we will do our best by them.
How big is the team?
It’s the two of us and our daughter, she’s the real paddle boarder and she will be helping in the shop in the summer. She also does our photography and most of our media posts.
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