Kris is drumming up success after Adapt & Diversify grant
"There is no way the business would be where it is now without the council's support"
A small business in Warwick is drumming up success after accessing support from Warwickshire County Council's Adapt & Diversify grants scheme.
Professional drummer Kris Farrell opened Top of the Rock Tuition at the West End Centre in Hampton Road in the spring of 2020. Two days later, the country went into lockdown.
That came as a huge blow to the brand new business but Kris pivoted to deliver drumming tuition on line...and ended up increasing his customer base during lockdown.
Then, when some normality returned, came the challenge of how to grow the business - and the Adapt & Diversify scheme, created specifically to help SMEs mitigate the impact of Covid, has enabled him to do that to a point where he now employs four other tutors.
"There is no way the business would be where it is now without the council's support," said Kris, who grew up in Warwickshire before studying Music Performance in London.
"After three years of teaching on the road and saving up, we opened last year...and two days later came lockdown. It was a huge blow but we had put so much effort and planning into starting up we decided to grin and bear it - and the response from customers was amazing.
"We took the lessons online, not ideal but doable, and went from 40 customers to 120 during lockdown. Massive thanks go to Warwick Marching Band who were so generous with the lease during that time.
"We reached the stage where we were operating at full capacity so needed to invest in order to grow - so we applied for an Adapt & Diversify grant and it has proved invaluable. It went towards two new electric drum kits, a laptop, upgrading of our website and some recording equipment to enable our tutees to take their exams online.
"The council's support just put my mind at ease after all the challenges of the last year."
As well as providing employment and adding another vibrant small business to the Warwickshire economy, Kris and his team have offered their customers something else very precious at such a tough time for the country - fun!
"It's just great to see people come in and really enjoy themselves," he said. "Mostly it's youngsters but we also have some mums and dads who brought their kids in, had a look and then did it themselves! A lot of people have taken up our offer of half an hour free drumming to see what they make of it and then signed straight up!
"We have more demand than we can handle and a lot of exciting plans. We are looking at building a third room at our Warwick base and hopefully opening one in Stratford. The grant has enabled us to move forward so much faster and we are really grateful for it."