Running a successful commercial enterprise for future generations to admire and enjoy

The Grand Pier (Teignmouth) Limited (Grand Pier), one of only two piers left on the South West coast, is situated in the middle of Teignmouth’s superb seafront. Much has happened since the pier was designed and built by Joseph Wilson, an engineering consultant from London in 1865.

The current owners, brother and sister, Nik Brenner and Lucie Cooper, are the third-generation custodians of this marvellous and historic Victorian structure. Nik and Lucie took over running the pier in 2014 from their father Anthony Brenner who ran the business for over 30 years.

As well as running a successful family business, much of their dedicated work is about ensuring that the pier survives for future generations to admire and enjoy. The pier is one of only fifty original piers that are still standing around our coast line with many of these no longer functioning as a pier in the true tradition.

Running a pier as a commercial enterprise is far from easy or predictable. No amount of planning could have prepared them for the horrendous storms of 2014 when they lost 90% of their machines and suffered considerable damage to the pier which resulted in six months closure to the public. Despite this major setback they worked tirelessly to get the pier up and running again purchasing new equipment along with traditional seaside amusements and new ticket redemption games.

The restoration of the pier is a long-term project and the business is currently two years into a plan that, notwithstanding any further catastrophes, aims to get their 154-year-old pier back to her former Victorian elegance. The estimated costs for this though will be many hundreds of thousands of pounds spread over the ten-year project.

Financing this vital work has not been easy with most of the revenue coming from attracting adequate numbers of visitors to the town during the summer months. Nik and Lucie need to take enough money in the summer to cover the annual running costs of general maintenance, wages, power and insurance, whilst allocating adequate funds to the ongoing restoration work during the less busy winter months.

Grand Pier have been a client of Thompson Jenner for 20 years with Exeter Partner Jon Westley becoming responsible for the business in 2011. The Director’s needed an accountant that could give the support and help needed to run a profitable family business as well as identifying with their passion to see the pier restored.

Thompson Jenner have assisted Grand Pier through some challenging times in the past, including the help and support the business needed after the 2014 storms. An important part of the service has been having a very close relationship with Nik and Lucie and being able to provide them with responsive business and financial support whenever needed. This has been from helping them gain finance when needed to providing payroll support, help with implementing auto-enrolment and recently setting up MTD for VAT software, training and ongoing support.

Although in every way a unique enterprise, Grand Pier is still very much a true owner managed family run business. The secret of its success is very much down to the strong partnership of Nik and Lucie working hard for each other and their staff, and sharing the same passion, drive and determination to see the pier be a successful business and return to its former glory.

Thompson Jenner continue to provide Grand Pier with a range of accounting services, proactive business advice and specialist tax services and expertise. Services provided include:

  • Implementing financial controls
  • Forward planning and forecasting
  • Business and personal tax planning
  • Help with funding needs
  • Annual financial reporting
  • Auto-Enrolment implementation
  • MTD for VAT software advice and training
  • Ongoing business support and advice

What the client said:

From a personal point of view I find all of the members of Thompson Jenner’s team that we currently deal with, are very amenable, helpful and professional, particularly when it comes to dealing with government legislation and the many tasks that are laid on the owners of a small family run business. Thompson Jenner are always quick to offer support and patiently show you how to manage these hurdles. They have been very helpful in dealing with staff auto-enrolment pensions and the recent Making Tax Digital for VAT introduction.

Lucie Cooper, Director, Grand Pier (Teignmouth) Limited

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