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Back from a broken back

29 April 2014



Dream Doors Bristol, a franchise of the UK's largest kitchen facelift retailer, has traded on the city's Gloucester Road since 2009. Last year it was taken over by Barry Payne, a seasoned home-improvement professional with a remarkable story to tell.

Barry had spent the last seven years building his own property maintenance and construction company. On a late summer's day in 2012 he was working on a customer's roof. This was an average job on an average day. The sort of job Barry had completed dozens of times before. And then he tripped, fell backwards through the scaffolding and landed on a plank several feet below.

“It was a serious accident and I ended up with a broken back,” Barry says. “By then I was running our company, but still had a very hands-on approach. My doctors advised me that, while I may be able to return to such physically demanding work, it would have a negative impact on my long-term health. Fortunately my son was able to takeover the company, and it continues to trade successfully with him at the helm. I, on the other hand, had to down tools for good.

“But I refused to let that get me down; I shifted my focus and challenged myself to find another way to remain in a trade I both enjoy and understand. And that's when I discovered that Dream Doors Bristol was up for sale. The showroom hadn't fulfilled its potential and the previous owner admitted as much. It was the perfect match for me.”

That under-performing franchisee gave Barry a rare opportunity to buy into an award-winning franchise at a discounted price. And the location couldn't have been better. Barry's wife Emma, a corporate lawyer, was now working from offices in Bristol, renting a flat in the city during the week and returning to their Worcestershire home at weekends. Purchasing the existing Dream Doors franchise meant the couple could work and live in the same place again.

“We still have our property in Worcestershire, but rent here in Bristol,” says Barry. “We both work hard, and still don't see that much of each other, but we spend more time together than before!

“Dream Doors is a great fit for my skill set and one that's left me excited and energised by the challenge ahead. And it has been challenging at times! But I'm relishing being back at work – and still being in charge – while also benefitting from all the support I get from Dream Doors.”

He adds: “We increased turnover by almost 30% last year, and I know there's so much more we can achieve in this area. 2014 is set to be very good for us – we sold more than £75,000 in just the first two months of this year.”

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