GRANTHAM JOURNAL BUSINESS AWARD IS A ‘HUGE HONOUR AND PRIVILEGE’ FOR NEW START-UP
The Grantham Journal
By Tracey Davies
Published: 14:00, 24 November 2021
The winner of the ‘Best New Start-Up’ award has said it’s huge honour and a privilege to be recognised after only being in business for little over a year.
Rory Koper returned to his village of Foston from New York just before the travel ban to the USA was enforced last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With very little to do during lockdown, Rory launched Grantham Gardening Services, which not only offers general services for people’s backyards, but also allows him to provide company for those isolating, from a safe distance.
As business grew, Rory has been able to expand his one-man team by four.
He added: The business has grown more than I had ever imagined, and I owe this to my amazingly talented team for their continued hard work and support over the past 18 months. It’s a privilege to be recognised.”
Judged by Lesley Pashley of Nettl and Lime, and David O’Brien Business Doctor, both representing Grantham Business Club, they praised Rory on his courage.
On stage at the awards on November 12, David said : “Starting a business takes courage, creativity, and tenacity. Starting one just before, or even during, a pandemic adds an extra level of challenges.
“The winning business spotted an opportunity, created a new business to meet a specific demand, has grown the business rapidly and sustainably, takes into account community and environmental issues, and has clear, ambitious plans for an exciting future.”
Rory is now gearing up to a busy year ahead, adding: “We are anticipating a busy summer season and have plans to take on new team members. A special thanks to friends and family who helped me get on my feet and encouraged me to develop and expand the business.”
GRANTHAM GARDENING BUSINESS LAUNCHED IN LOCKDOWN LOOKS TO EXPAND
The Grantham Journal
Published: 12:00, 24 January 2021
A Grantham man who launched a gardening business during the first lockdown is looking to expand following a successful start.
Rory Koper, 23, returned to his village of Foston for his grandfather’s funeral from New York back in March 2020, just before the travel ban to the USA was enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unable to return to the States, where he was working as a manager at a British-themed restaurant, Rory established Grantham Gardening Services.
Although Rory’s services primarily centre around garden maintenance, he also sees it as an opportunity to offer socialisation from a safe distance that is potentially vital for the mental health of those who are shielding.
Beginning with clients in and around the village of Foston, Rory now covers much of the area surrounding and including Grantham.
He said: “I’ve just spent the last few months expanding my business and growing it, mainly through the website and social media.
“It took off more than I expected, especially in the winter months. I thought things would wind down and get quieter but there still seems to be an abundance of work, which is great.
“I’ve picked up a few contracts for larger businesses like care homes, hotels in the Grantham area which is good.
“Luckily, I’ve managed to find enough work to offer someone full time employment, so I’ve got someone coming on board in February, and if things continue to go well, there might be a possibility of hiring a second person as we go into summer as well.”
As well as expanding the business, Rory has maintained his regular customers that he works for on a frequent basis.
He continued: “Obviously, at the end of last year we thought things were going in the right direction and we probably didn’t think that we’d be in such a strict lockdown at this time of year, so it’s been nice to continue visiting those people and offer them a chat even if it’s for ten minutes whilst I’m doing work for them.
“I think it’s a really positive thing and it’s nice for them to have someone who pops by once a week just to say hello
“I think there’s certainly one lady that I visit, who I know her family doesn’t live so close by, so I imagine I’m one of the few people she sees each week which is quite nice to know.”
Rory still hopes to return to his life in New York, but with the ongoing pandemic affecting travel, he thinks he will be around for another year.
In the mean time, he started a crowd-fund for more specialised equipment for the business, such as a ride on lawnmower, leaf blower, chainsaw and hedge trimmer.
The fund-raiser has a target of £1,500 by February 11, and managed to raise £600 in its first three days. You can find out more here: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/granthamgardeningservices
Rory said:”I was overwhelmed by the initial support from family and friends, raising £600 over the first three days.
“I would be extremely grateful if anyone is able to spare a few pounds to help me on my way to growing my business and providing employment in the local community.”
With the country in a third lockdown, Rory has been able to readjust to the restrictions.
He said: “I think having started the business in a fairly strict lockdown last year, that meant that the practices that I put in place were always Covid-safe, so going into tighter restrictions has been easier to adapt to, as opposed to a business that was started before lockdown.
“My work is contact free and based outside, so, in terms of following government guidelines, it fits in quite well with that.”
To find out more about Rory’s business, visit: www.granthamgardening.co.uk
GRANTHAM MAN STRANDED BY CORONAVIRUS LOCKDOWN STARTS GARDENING BUSINESS
The Grantham Journal
Published: 07:00, 05 September 2020
A man who recently returned to the area from the USA has set up a gardening business.
Rory Koper, 23, returned to his village of Foston from New York just before the travel ban to the USA was enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With very little to do during lockdown, Rory took it upon himself to start Grantham Gardening Services, which not only offers general services for people’s backyards, but also allows him to provide company for those isolating, from a safe distance.
Across the pond, Rory was a restaurant manager in a British-themed eatery and had been there for two years. However, he is also a dab hand at gardening, learning from his grandparents, whom he described as “avid gardeners”, especially his grandfather.
Rory’s business offers general garden maintenance services such as lawn mowing, hedge trimming, weeding and pressure washing.
He said: “I’ve been living out in New York for the past couple of years and came back just before lockdown and ended up kind of getting stuck here with the travel ban, which is still in place at the moment.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve been stuck around the house and around the village. I was walking round the village and I thought that it was the ideal time to set up a gardening business during the summer months and initially something to do for the local village and the local community.
“Then I grew the idea from there and I’ve been aiming it at my village in particular and also in Grantham and the surrounding area for the older generation who haven’t been able to go out and talk to people because of lockdown.
“So, as well as providing general gardening services, it’s nice to have a chat with these people who can’t get out of the house or see people as much.”
Due to the nature of the work, starting the new business has been smooth for Rory, despite the challenges caused by the current pandemic.
He continued: “I think with the type of business it is, it’s quite an easy set-up but fairly smooth. What’s good about it is, in terms of the virus, is that you can be socially distanced with it and it is quite safe because you never really have to enter anyone’s home and you’re always outside in the garden which is good.
“In terms of setting up, it has been straightforward.
“The initial response has been pretty good. I set up a Facebook page and a website and I’ve had good response from just word of mouth and people sharing my Facebook page.”
You can find out more about Rory’s business by visiting www.granthamgardening.co.uk