ArrangeMY escape opened its first shop in Worcester in January, with a launch event attracting local MP and “Brexit minister” Robin Walker, who is undersecretary of state for the Department for Exiting the European Union.
The brand is part of business travel company arrangeMY, which employs 60 people at its Worcester head office and is run by managing director Nick Scott, whose parents started the business 28 years ago.
“I don’t think it’s overly ambitious to say we will add around one new store per year,” Scott told TTG. “We will always keep it local, within a 50-mile radius of our hometown.”
Scott said other ideal towns could include Hereford and Leamington Spa or areas of Birmingham such as Bartley Green – those with a “small city” feel, but very local in attitude and with an affluent catchment area.
“Having always worked in business travel, our ethos was sort of ‘we don’t do leisure’,” Scott explained. “But over the course of Advantage conferences in recent years, I kept meeting lovely leisure agents who were telling me that things had come ‘full circle’, with great, bespoke retail agents making a comeback.”
He said he returned to Worcester, looked around the high street and found only multiples, but knowing there was a local affluent clientele, decided to make the leap and open a luxury independent agency.
“It seemed to me there was a gap for a service-driven, high-end agency in our own town, so being a Worcester boy, I went for it,” he said. “This is a busy place, and property doesn’t come up that often, so it took us a while to find the right spot and get things off the ground.”
The Worcester shop is in a Grade II listed building, features a VIP suite and is open seven days per week. There is a team of seven, including manager Jennifer Lynch, who relocated from Maesteg in Wales for the project, having known Scott as a fellow Advantage member.
“So far, we’ve had a great response,” said Scott. “At the opening event, we invited lots of local business people and those who had helped with the creation of the shop and have been working with a local PR company, as well as being very active on Facebook.”