A newly expanded hairdresser and beautician is finding her bills are a snip, thanks to an innovative council support package aimed at helping small businesses.
Samantha Collins and her business partner Stacy Cummins operated their business, Simply Special, from a rented room above a shop in Yorkshire Street for 10 years. But they've now got a place they can call their own, after moving into a dedicated unit in Baillie Street, with the help of the council.
'Business benefitted from enjoyed business rates support and a shop renovation grant'
The entrepreneurial pair took advantage of the council's business rates discount scheme, which offers businesses moving into selected empty units in Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton town centres 80% off their rates in their 1st year of trading, with further reductions in years 2 and 3.
The thriving business also benefitted from a £5,000 grant towards building improvements, including a new roof, a damp proof course, new toilets and a new sign.
'We've already picked up new customers and will be employing 2 new members of staff' - Samantha Collins, business owner
And the salon is already finding its new location a cut above.
Samantha, who lives in Heywood, said: "Baillie Street is a great thoroughfare and close to a lot of the town centre's regeneration projects, like the river re-opening and the planned new shopping centre, so it's a great spot. We've had a number of new customers coming in to enquire about our services, as they hadn't seen us before, so we're already looking at taking on 2 new members of staff.
"The rates on this unit were really high, so we would have had to look elsewhere had we not got council support. We've spent around £25,000 renovating our new shop too, so the £5,000 grant also made a big difference.
"We're really committed to Rochdale. We've bought our new unit outright and spent a lot of our own money doing it up. We've already been here for a decade and expect to be here for many more years to come."
'Businesses wanting to stay here as they expand shows how confident they are about Rochdale's future' - council leader: Richard Farnell
Councillor Richard Farnell, Leader of the council, said: "Our rates sale, the most generous of its kind in the country, has been a great success, bringing in fantastic new businesses, like CockaDoodleMoo, Shoemaster and Lavinia Rose Bridal. Now, to make it even easier for people to invest and create jobs, we've added our shop improvement grant, and the new businesses keep coming.
"The fact that companies like Simply Special want to stay in Rochdale when they expand is a mark of how optimistic they are about Rochdale's future. This shop makes a great addition to Baillie Street and I wish them every success for the future."
Anyone who would like to find out more about the business rates discount scheme and the shop improvement grant, can visit
Financial support for new businesses.