Imagine getting the keys to your dream business premises just four days before a pandemic shuts down Britain.
That was the unexpected turn of events facing Sunderland entrepreneur Beverley Ashton, who moved into her new riverside base at the North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) in March last year.
But despite the year of unprecedented twists and turns that followed, Beverley’s River View Clinic has gone from strength to strength and she’s now preparing to celebrate her first anniversary at the BIC with plans to grow.
River View Clinic, which specialises in providing clients with information and treatments to support the ageing process, moved from its original city centre base when a riverside unit became available at the BIC.
Beverley said: “It was a strange time to move my business, just four days before that first traumatic lockdown but somehow instinctively I knew I would make it work.
“I fell in love immediately with the location of the office space which has evolved to become River View Clinic and the BIC team have been amazing. I have felt 100 per cent supported by everyone from the beginning and I believe this was the best business decision I’ve ever made.
“I was brought up on the River Wear, just a stone’s throw away from where my new business is now located. I feel like I’ve come home and my gut tells me I’ll continue to grow my business and be part of the BIC for a very long time. I just cannot wait to have our long-awaited launch party!”
Beverley set up an aesthetics practice in 2009 after 25 years’ experience in the nursing and medical field and over the next decade evolved the business to offer a wide range of services including skincare, cosmetic surgery and hormone support.
She prides herself on setting up the first clinic in the North East of England focused on the impact of the decline of male hormones. Beverley also recently launched vitamin infusions for men and women, which she describes as aiming to improve the sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing by supporting the immune system and acting as an aid to anti-ageing, energy enhancement and athletic performance.
She said: “Covid has obviously affected how I’ve been able to operate the clinic but it won’t affect my plans for growing the business. If anything, it has prompted new ideas and given me time to fully research additional opportunities such as the creation of online hormonal health courses.
“Clients are understandably keen to review their internal health so much more since the pandemic. I’m receiving many more enquiries about the benefits of vitamin infusions, so I can already see the potential demand for what we do. I’m excited about the prospect of helping people to get their sparkle back.”
Donna Surtees, Centre Manager at the BIC, said: “Beverley’s story is a perfect example of how many smart entrepreneurs have used these past 12 months wisely –researching new ways to diversify that will help them to thrive.
“Despite Covid conditions, Beverley has felt the warmth of the welcome from the community here at the BIC and we can’t wait to be able to properly celebrate her anniversary as soon as we can.”