Cornwall is renowned for its culinary talents to turn amazing local produce into exquisite plates of food in fantastic settings. As a result, there is an abundance of award winning restaurants and hotels in the county with one more making a number of headlines for its rustic approach to food. This exciting new guesthouse is Coombeshead Farm, the brainchild of renowned chefs April Bloomfield and Tom Adams.
Chef Tom Adams first began looking at traditional banks to help him fund the project to buy the premises for his guesthouse in Cornwall, but was met with little enthusiasm and was turned away from a number of banks.
Tom who had successfully run London smoke house Pitt Cue Co. decided to up-sticks and move to Cornwall, launching the project alongside his business partner, New York-based chef April Bloomfield. Unable to get the funds from a mainstream bank, they were informed about a local peer-to-peer lending service just a few miles down the road. After meeting Folk2Folk the business was back on after receiving the funding required, thanks to the business loans service. By looking beyond the banks and having a good reputation, business plan and valuable property Tom and April were able to get the funding via a business loan from Folk2Folk.
The funds helped to buy the 200-year-old £1.5m property, Coombeshead Farm, a Cornish farmhouse and former landowner’s seat. The plan has come together by first turning it into a guesthouse, with Tom cooking dinner using local Cornish produce for guests with the aim to eventually expand into a full restaurant. You can go for dinner at present if you are not staying as a guest.
Both April and Tom are acclaimed chefs, but neither had ever undertaken a project such as Coombeshead Farm with one of their biggest challenges being how to finance the project.
“It was all new territory,” says Tom. “We tried to go down the textbook route, but it wasn’t viable, mainly because of the commercial element. It wasn’t just that we were looking for a house to live in; we needed to have a viable business too. And for a lot of banks, that wasn’t a risk that they were prepared to take.”
After eight months of searching, Tom and April took out an interest only loan from Folk2Folk for 3 years secured against the property, giving them time to build their business with an affordable fixed monthly repayment.
Speaking to Tom, he said he was very impressed by attitude of Folk2Folk compared to the banks as Folk2Folk took a more business forward thinking approach. “They have a genuine interest in supporting something that will benefit the area and its economy. That’s not something a national big bank would have an interest in,” he says.
Coombeshead farm has now been open since July 2016 and has already received several positive accolades and reviews. Tom and April are just one example of how local lending through Folk2Folk and its investors are helping business owners fund and achieve their business dream.