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The ZipYard takes out its seams for network growth

Garment alteration company The ZipYard has been enjoying expansion alterations of their own in a busy run-up to Christmas, with new franchisees joining the network alongside expansion plans for their Bournemouth franchise just eight months after opening.

Local businessman Simon Gurner and his team of seamstresses celebrated the official opening of their new The ZipYard Brentwood business with a special visit from Brentwood Mayoress, Cllr Ann Coe, on Thursday 22 November.

Simon, 40, was a lead engineer for Ford for over 14 years before leaving to set up his own IT support services company. He also runs another company providing point-of-sale systems for dry-cleaning and clothing repair businesses, which is how he discovered The ZipYard.

Simon said: “The ZipYard is a fantastic concept and Brentwood has never had anything like this before. So far people seem to love the services we have to offer!”

Further north in Marple, Cheshire, Jane and Kingsley Nketiah have taken on the franchise. With Jane having worked for 20 years as a clothing designer, the couple should be primed for success in their new venture.

Jane’s husband Kingsley will be managing the centre while she continues her job working as head of design for a sportswear manufacture. The couple met in Ghana over 15 years ago when Jane was teaching fashion design at Takoradi Polytechnic with Voluntary Services Overseas.

The third new opening comes from franchisee Donal McCormack, who opened his first ZipYard in Staines just 4 months ago and it’s been such a success that he decided to launch his second centre in Woking.

Sharon Lowe, an experienced manager and buyer who will be managing the centre, said: “I’m very excited about The ZipYard. The quality of the work is stunning and the seamstresses are truly skilful. There are so many offices around here I think that, especially with Christmas coming, we will be rushed off our feet altering party dresses and men’s suits.”

Expansion comes in the form of Bournemouth-based franchisee Kevin Old, who is already looking for premises to open a second store in Bournemouth or Poole only 8 months after his first started trading.

His centre in Winton, which has seen over 3,700 customers come through its doors, started off with 2 full-time seamstresses and now has four seamstresses with plans to take on a fifth before the end of the year.

Manageress Michelle Wylie said: “Our customers are lovely and we get all kinds of different work to do. During the Olympics we were putting union jacks on items of clothing including covering a bra with the flag! We’ve fitted numerous prom dresses, bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses and helped out with some last minute problems with grooms’ suits; we repaired a broken zip and mended some split trousers while they waited to make sure they got to the church on time!” 

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