The grass really is greener…
Lee Burke from Marske always thought the grass was greener elsewhere – and with help from Redcar and Cleveland’s Enterprise Team he’s discovered it really is!
Just over two years ago Lee spotted a plot of derelict land and approached the Enterprise Team with the dream of setting up his own nursery business.
Armed with new found knowledge and guidance from the Enterprise Team he gave up his 13 year career as a civil servant – launched Longbeck Nurseries in Marske, Redcar and has never looked back.
It is now a thriving business which has proven so successful he has already expanded to meet demand. His customers range from local people and schools to Marske Residents Association, Marske Town Partnership and The Princes Trust. He employs three full time staff, plus extra seasonal and weekend staff, and facilitates regular four week training placements via one of the UK’s largest training providers, TNG.
Lee has strong links with local schools and hosts regular visits where he gives guided tours and teaches the children about horticulture.
Helped by his wife Kelsey, who also works at the nursery, 37-year-old Lee now finds that he gets to spend more time with his family, and their nine-year-old son Guy and four-year-old daughter Carys can often be found helping him out in the potting shed.
“I absolutely love what I do now” he said. “I do work very hard, seven days a week most of the time, but the pros far outweigh the cons and I would encourage anyone to ‘go for it’ if they are considering setting up their own business.
“I did and I’ve never looked back – I spend more time with my wife and kids and I even get to take my one of my best friends, my dog Star, to work – not many people can say that!”
Lee actually studied towards and qualified as a horticulturist when he left school more than 20 years and can’t believe he didn’t follow his dream earlier.
“I would encourage people to get in touch with the Enterprise Team and chat through their ideas. I found them to be extremely helpful and knowledgeable with regards to all of the things I did, and didn’t, have to do to get started.
“Even now I am still in touch with them, often ask their advice and have benefited from their training workshops too.”