Ellis & Co client case study: Head Outdoors Ltd

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Nestled on the fringe of Snowdonia National Park is a 17th century farmhouse, cottage and barns, saved from ruin and now lovingly restored for ‘staycations’.

After two decades of working in financial services, husband and wife team Dean and Hannah Jones decided to take on a challenge and in June 2018 they certainly found one!

After searching across Europe the couple stumbled upon five dilapidated properties in the village of Bryncrug, Gwynedd, Mid-Wales.

Despite its ‘sorry state’, the couple fell in love with Geufron Farm and two years later having completed the sale they were raring to go.

“Little did we know driving towards Bryncrug on a dark Friday evening in February 2020 as the new owners of Geufron Farm that just five weeks later the whole of the UK would go into lockdown,” said Hannah.

“Our dream of opening our five beautiful farm properties to guests would be halted.

“What a time to buy a hospitality business!”

But, despite lockdown and a ‘few set backs’, through hard work and sheer determination their dreams became a reality and Geufron Farm opened to guests on July 31, 2020.

“We could have crumbled but instead, we upped the budget and ripped out and renovated even more than we had first planned,” said Hannah.

“Our friends must have thought we were off our rocker, but we knew that this place deserved a special overhaul.”

The biggest change for the couple, now that the business is up and running, has been the working hours, which has seen them going from working corporate business hours of ‘9 to 5’ to evenings and weekends.  

“We’re working when guests are holidaying so that can mean replying to enquiries in the evenings, answering calls at weekends, conducting water balance tests on our outdoor swimming pool and of course being on site to ensure everything runs smoothly on changeover days,” said Hannah.

“We also spend a lot of time working in the grounds of the farm including maintaining our dog friendly play paddock and planning how we will continue to iterate our customer experience in future.”

When the couple first started looking for properties, they wanted to develop a space for people that loved adventure and the outdoors, and a place to recharge from the stresses of everyday life.

“Most of our guests come to enjoy adventures in the quieter part of the national park, climb nearby Cadair Idris Mountain, enjoy the cycling trails or simply relax and take in the magnificent views,” said Hannah.

“When our guests tell us that they have had an great break and enjoyed new experiences in our little corner of Wales, like riding the Talyllyn Steam Railway, trying a new sport like sea kayaking or wild swimming or simply discovering a new cycling trail - that’s what lights us up.

“There is no greater complement than a guest then booking to stay again or recommending us to a friend.”

Geufron Farm is made up of: Yr Hen Dy Fferm (The Old Farm House) which sleeps up to nine guests; Beudy (The Cowshed) sleeps five; Ysgubor (The Barn) which sleeps four; Y Granar (The Granary) and The Little Cottage which both sleeps two.

Each property has been cleverly renovated, making them modern while retaining their stunning original features and character. 

Having worked flat out since February 2020 you would think the couple would have their feet up, but they are already busy putting plans in to place to better the guest experience.

“We’re within a short drive of three awesome mountain bike parks so we’ll shortly be installing bike storage and a bike/dog wash ready for the wetter winter months,” said Hannah.

“Dean is also busy mapping out routes that our guests can enjoy right from the doorstep to include in our digital guest guidebook.

“And of course we’re looking forward to hopefully being able to be open for a full 12 month period.”

The couple have worked tirelessly to save these historical buildings and give special mention to a team of local contractors, professional housekeepers, grounds maintenance and trades people who have helped them along the way.

“We have a policy to always hire locally where we can,” said Hannah.

Another business that has worked closely with Hannah and Dean has been their accountants Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers.

“We have worked closely with Ellis & Co for a number of years on another business so when we decided to set up this business, they were the obvious choice,” said Hannah.

“We really value the clear and straight forward advice and support we get from John and the team at Ellis & Co.

“It’s incredibly important to work with people who have a collaborative approach and that’s exactly what we feel we get in this relationship.

“We would absolutely recommend them.”

For further information or to book a stay at Geufron Farm click here.