The Insider - Business Bulletins

Your Business Bulletin from Thanet & East Kent Chamber

Your Business Bulletin from Thanet & East Kent Chamber


Thanet & East Kent Insider


24th April 2010 Issue No.: 


1. Petrol

East Kent readers who drive a car and buyers who watch company fuel prices will have noticed a sharp rise in petrol costs in recent months. At the time of writing, one litre of unleaded petrol at Asda Canterbury, Lakeside Service Station, Asda Tilbury and Shell Northfleet costs 117.9p. By contrast, a litre of unleaded from the pumps of Tesco Extra in Broadstairs costs 121.9p. Thus anyone filling a tank with 70 litres of fuel will find that it costs £2.80 more at Tesco Extra Broadstairs than at some of its competitors. In fairness to the “Every little helps” supermarket chain, enquiries by the Chamber reveal that the retailer receives very little of the selling price. The figures we have received show that a selling price of 119.9p a litre is divided as follows: duty 57.19p, product 39.85p, VAT 17.86p, retailer & delivery 5p. In case you are wondering, we have checked the addition twice and it did add up to 119.9p. Three times would have been tempting fate. It follows that if the 5p margin is raised to 7p, it produces a 40% increase to the retailer.  On such small margins, it must be tempting to the petrol stations without a close competitor nearby to increase the retail price by a few extra pence. The cheapest petrol we have found in Thanet is at Ramsgate Service Station which asks for 119.9p for a litre of unleaded. At the risk of hearing readers mumur to themselves ‘grandmother’ and ‘suck eggs’, it clearly does not make sense to travel a long distance to fill up with fuel, but it probably does pay to refuel when you are going past one of the cheaper outlets.

2. News From Dover

Plans are moving ahead for the Cable Car linking Dover Seafront with Dover Castle. Following some positive meetings with the English Heritage Advisory Site Committee, the project has reached an advanced stage with the promise of significant benefits for retailers in the town. Dover District Council and Dover Town Council enjoy excellent relations with our sister Chamber at the Dover District Chamber of Commerce. Recent initiatives include the establishment of a Dover Business Support office in the town centre, plans for a Saturday market and support to inward investors. Both Dover District Council and Dover Town Council provide a first-class example of how local councils can work with the established Chamber of Commerce.

3. Blue Flags

Among the glories of Thanet are the beaches which stand comparison with any in the UK. Seven beaches received the Blue Flag in 2009, Minnis Bay, St. Mildred’s Bay Westgate, West Bay Westgate, Walpole Bay Margate, Botany Bay Broadstairs, Joss Bay Broadstairs and Ramsgate Main Sands. The Blue Flag system is administered in England by Keep Britain Tidy and in Europe by the Foundation for Environmental Education. It provides a powerful incentive to beach managers and councils. It is officially described as “a prestigious, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world”. A Blue Flag is given to “coastal destinations which have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management.” The 2010 winners are expected to be announced in May this year. The Thanet & East Kent Insider will keep readers informed of the results.

4. Reducing Costs

The Thanet & East Kent Chamber focuses much of our efforts on reducing operating costs for members. Sometimes this consists of helping to secure grants for new machinery, offering representation to minimize business rates or simply assisting members with cash flow issues such as unpaid invoices. We are always pleased to welcome initiatives that decrease expense and increase revenue. With this in mind, we welcome Auditel into our membership. This company offers a business health check using the resources of the largest cost management consultancy in the country. Manager, Jeremy Bailey, is keen not just to cut costs as to produce a single cash input to your business, but to manage those costs in the long term. As he put it in a recent email to the Chamber, “I review their costs, profile their spending patterns against similar sized companies in the same verticals and provide them with a detailed report against which they can make informed decisions about how they can get the best value for money. All without any upfront costs. We work purely on a contingency basis and ask only to share in any savings that we actually deliver.” Seems too good to be true? Give Jeremy a call and see what he can do for you. Details from Jeremy Bailey, Auditel, Cost Management Consultant tel: 01843 588776  or 07990 561616.

5. Quex Adding Value

The Powell-Cotton Museum, Quex House and Gardens are home to some thriving local businesses including, Jungle Jims Family Entertainment Centre and the Hannah Dining Suite. Around 3000 tons of potatoes are grown on the estate and supplied to a local supermarket chain with obvious benefits in terms of cost and freshness. Quex is also now producing its own bottled rapeseed oil. Managing Director Anthony Curwen is particularly keen to serve the local market with home grown produce. Key to the growth of Quex’s food products is the relationship with Thanet College catering department which has elected to use Quex Rapeseed Oil in its restaurants and in projects with students. This is another example of Thanet College using its international expertise for the benefit of local companies, justifying Quex Park’s Karen Botha’s claim of Thanet College as “a perfect partner”.  We need hardly add that both organisations are members of the Thanet & East Kent Chamber and maintain close ties with the East Kent coastal business community.

6. Events Summary

Booking is essential for the following Chamber events which have all been designed to help members increase turnover, reduce costs and provide friendly business-to-business networking opportunities :




Information & Booking

Hotels & Restaurants Forum

1500 hrs, 28th April 2010

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dover Port Privatisation Lunch

1215 hrs, 30th April 2010

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Turner Contemporary Breakfast

0730 hrs, 11th May 2010

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Dover Business Exhibition

10th June 2010

Graham Rayner tel:  07899 873535

Thanet Business Exhibition

11th June 2010

Graham Rayner tel:  07899 873535

Thanet & Dover Golf Day

8th October 2010

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7. Slogans

Item 1 on petrol prices does raise the question of the value of slogans. In an article for the BBC a few years ago, Cobra Beer’s Marketing Director, Simon Edwards, described Tesco’s catchy phrase “Every little helps” as “It includes a promise but also gets across what the company is about and gives an indication of its character". Tesco may not be helping East Kent motorists much, but the City and shareholders have no reason to complain. Yesterday’s share price of £4.51 shows a rise of 94p from this time last year when it stood at £3.57. 

8. More About Catch Phrases

Where would Bruce Forsyth be without “Nice to see you, to see you nice”, “Give us a twirl”, “good game, good game” and more recently “You’re my favourites”. The comforting familiarity of brand recognition is a key factor in marketing and one that has been fully exploited by Carlsberg’s “Probably the best .... in the world” slogan created by Saatchi and Saatchi in 1973. Does your business have a catch phrase? Some have embedded themselves in our national consciousness such as the British Army’s “Be The Best” from 1994. McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” was launched in Germany in 2003 by Heye & Partner as “Ich Liebe Es” with a song added later for the UK version featuring Justin Timberlake. Some companies have succumbed to public pressure to change their slogans. In 2004, L’Oréal famously ditched “Because I’m worth it” for a less materialistic “Because you’re worth it”, neither of which seems to carry any great message for saving the planet. Lovelys Gallery in Cliftonville, tel 01843 292757, reminds visitors to its shop and website that it has won the award of “Art Retailer of the Year”, a prestigious accolade that puts this quality establishment  ahead of all its competitors which will be no surprise to any customers to its premises in Northdown Road. Silent Gliss, tel: 01843 863571, a truly world-class manufacturer in Broadstairs, introduced its unique system of panel glides earlier this year as “New Inspirations” and “Effortless Movement” which sum up its classy approach as the leading global supplier of motorised and manual curtain and blind systems to the high end market. Twin Towers Trading, tel: 01843 232346, knows a thing or two about the power of slogans to promote a product. With a worldwide client base, this company markets The World’s Sharpest Knife, The Great Wok of China and, intriguingly, The Euro Chopper which is currently not available in New Zealand and nor should it be; western Europe is underpopulated as it is. Twin Towers trading has a remarkable range of skincare products jewellery and useful gadgets for the kitchen. Sometimes a simple descriptive phrase is enough. WW Martin, tel: 01843 591 584, is one of the South East’s most successful construction companies. With an order book that includes a £1 million contract to build offices and welfare units for Thanet Offshore Windfarm, WW Martin has hundreds of satisfied customers throughout the private and public sectors which more than justifies its claim to be “Working in close partnership with clients to ensure high quality buildings on time and within budget”.  Doing what you promise to do is of course, the best advertisement there is, or as Ronseal first put it in 1994, “It does exactly what it says on the tin”. Even Bruce Forsyth couldn’t beat that one.

9. Fanatic

Next Wednesday’s Hotel & Restaurants Forum will include a briefing on the opportunities for businesses arising from the Open Championship in July 2011. One Chamber member has contacted the Thanet & East Kent Insider with his own account of the fanatical devotion that some sports inspire. According to Mr X of Lakeside Business Park, a colleague of his was once stranded for eight years on a remote Pacific island with just sufficient food and water to sustain life: well, that’s the way he tells it, anyway. No television, no family, no general election and no Bruce Forsyth. While strolling along the beach one morning, our latter-day Robinson Crusoe was surprised by an astoundingly beautiful woman emerging from the surf in a full wetsuit. As she removed her face mask, her lovely blond hair tumbled onto her rubber-clad shoulders. In a soft voice she said, “How long is it since you had a real drink?” “Eight years”, our friend mumbled. The vision in black unzipped a pocket on the right of her wet suit and handed over a bottle of single malt whisky which he immediately opened and took a long gulp with supreme satisfaction. “And how long, is it”, she continued, “since you had a good smoke?”. “Eight years”, our friend blurted out, almost completely mesmerised. The angel from the deep unzipped a pocket on the left of her wet suit and took out a perfectly preserved Cohiba Siglo VI Havanna cigar from Hunters & Frankau which the island’s sole resident accepted with grateful thanks. Then, with one hand on the zip that ran down the centre of her wet suit, the blond lovely said, “And have you had any fun at all on the island?” Our man could not contain himself any longer and shouted, “My God. I can’t believe it. Don’t tell me you’ve got some golf clubs in there as well?”

10. Our Sponsors

Girlings Solicitors has been managing the managing the legal affairs of commercial and private clients for over a century. Twenty-six partners and one hundred and twenty members of staff ensure a comprehensive range of services from the local offices in Ashford, Canterbury, Folkestone, Herne Bay and Margate. Offices in France and Spain complement specialist departments for charities, individuals and companies. For details, telephone 01843 220274. Express By Holiday Inn took on the daunting task of restoring the former Prospect Inn at Minster. The result is a spectacular hotel that combines the best of Oliver Hill’s 1930s design with ultra modern facilities and technological support. Conveniently located for business guests and holiday makers in East Kent, the meeting rooms and 105 bedrooms are available at competitive prices throughout the year. For details, telephone 01843 820250. Adecco is the world’ s largest HR solutions company offering a comprehensive service of temporary and contract staffing, permanent recruitment, outsourcing, outplacement, career services, training and consulting. Officially designated as a 2009 British Superbrand, Adecco is represented in Thanet and Dover by its Broadstairs office, tel: 01843 609292. CARISS design, install and support education and business computing systems as East Kent’s leading specialist company in Open Source Software.  To lower your carbon footprint, reduce your power consumption and adopt a thin client system, call CARISS, tel: 01843 823724. Mach Associates are the high-fliers in providing Internet technologies and specialist software solutions with a particular expertise in servicing the travel industry. A Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and with ISO9001 accreditation, Mach Associates also offers reduces telecom operating cost through VOIP/PBX phone systems. tel: 0870 321 9986. Sota Connect offers a comprehensive IT service covering best-value voice, data and Internet services for companies of all sizes as well as public sector organisations. The company operates two state-of-the-art data centres of over 10,000sq ft. Sota Connect owns and operates a unique 200km fibre network from London to Ramsgate with high bandwidth Internet access giving superfast Internet connections, tel: 0800 072 2420.


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