Business owners, Suzanne and Gary Horton, who live and work in Manchester, have been named the winners in the Franchisee Innovation category at the British Franchise Association (bfa) HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards 2017.
The husband and wife duo set up their Puddle Ducks Greater Manchester franchise in 2011, and now run seven separate venues across the region. Puddle Ducks provides baby, toddler and primary age swimming classes from birth to 10 years old, as well as aquanatal classes for mums-to-be.
Gary and Suzanne were recognised for their innovative new ideas which demonstrated passion for their brand, and a clear understanding of Puddle Ducks’ target market. Through this innovation, the team has proved franchisees can make a real difference to a franchisor brand.
To make it all happen, the enterprising pair built their own swimming pool – a first for the Puddle Ducks brand – selling the family home and converting a former public house. The new venue, named Aqua Nurture, has been open for a year, and since then the business has doubled its customer numbers to over 1,000.
Puddle Ducks was competing with sport and physical activity provider, Premier Sport, in this category.
Suzanne commented: “Gary and I are absolutely delighted to win this award and represent Puddle Ducks at the bfa HSBC Annual Franchise Awards. We’ve worked so hard as a family for the past four years to get to where we are today so it really means a lot to see that this is recognised by the franchise industry. It’s a dream come true!”
Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa said: “Puddle Ducks’ achievement is truly inspiring and as judges, we couldn’t help but notice the risk that the pair took to push their business to new heights. We are excited to see how the business grows and shapes itself in the near future.”
Andrew Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising at HSBC, added: “Both finalists in this category were exceptional and therefore selecting the winner was, indeed, a difficult decision. I was genuinely impressed by Suzanne and Gary from Puddle Ducks and wish them further success as they grow their business.”
For more information on winners, visit: http://www.thebfa.org/news/bfa-news/winners-announced-at-the-bfa-hsbc-franchise-awards-2017
To find out more about becoming a member, visit: www.thebfa.org/about-bfa/joining-the-bfa.