Former smoker Chris Breslin turned to his pension to launch his dream of running a string of High Street e-cigarette shops.
With his Solihull vaping shop performing strongly he had no hesitation in taking the same route to secure a second commercial property deal in one of the most prestigious streets in the West Midlands.
His latest Inovape store on New Street, Birmingham, has been open for just over less than four weeks and is already doing five times the volume of the start-up shop at the same stage.
“Early signs are extremely positive,” said Chris, who used Pension-led funding to launch the Inovape brand with a view to opening a nationwide network of stores stocking more than 170 different e-cigarette flavours and a broad range of E-cigarette equipment to suit all needs.
This time around Chris accessed £30,000 from his pot and a bank loan to secure the lease on the new premises, a move which paves the way for a future financing stream for a further 10 shops in the near future.
“We’ve dropped right in the middle of three competitors. We needed to sharpen up our prices but that has also boosted the growth of our Solihull shop. It has cost us a little in margin but put us in a good position to flourish in a highly competitive environment.”
Chris faced tough negotiations to secure the New Street premises even with the ability to use his Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) to fund a commercial property opportunity.
“We looked at eight different properties but they were not interested in speaking to start-ups.”
But with customers already showing their support, a delighted Chris said: “The seed money from my pension back in 2015 enabled all this to happen. Without that, none of our current strong position in the market would have been possible.
“The second tranche this time around reassured the bank that I was committed and opened up the route to further critical finance to accelerate growth ”