The NSBRC is a unique visitor centre in Swindon for anyone interested in building or improving homes. It’s open all year round and produces various events and courses. It also offers conferencing and meeting spaces with a genuine wow.
We met Harvey Fremlin, Managing Director, to find out more about the Centre and why he’s supporting our #LoveLocalWilts campaign.
Who is a typical NSBRC visitor?
Our visitors are typically not in the building trade and want to understand the many stages of a building project. We are mainly funded by our 250+ exhibiting companies who showcase a wide range of building products and technologies. Self builders are faced with a huge number of decisions, which can be over-whelming, and our role is to help simplify the process and remove barriers.
What are you most proud of as a business?
The business has been employee owned since 2014 and we have grown our employee-shareholding from 75% to 83% by achieving targets, set by our original investor, for four consecutive years – each year allowing us to ‘buy-back’ 2% of their shares. We were named ‘Wiltshire Small Business of the Year’ in 2017, which we were very proud of as we were up against some fantastic companies. The award gave us the confidence to continue to develop our business.
How has your business changed as a result of the pandemic?
Initially our doors were closed for just under three months. As with many businesses, we had to quickly pivot from delivering our content from within the physical building to a ‘virtual’ offering. We created a plethora of online content including educational courses, live online workshops and guided tours. Some of these were already on our ‘to-do’ list now we have proven this virtual offering was both achievable and proven popular with our audience.
What are your aims for the rest of the year?
Our original targets and plans for the year have rather gone out the window, and in some ways it feels like the remainder of 2020 is a bit of a free hit! That said, we actually had a very strong start to the year and our virtual engagement has been tremendous, with many of the people we met online now turning into visitors at the NSBRC. Essentially we want to deliver our three promises of offering people inspiration, information and impartial advice, in a safe and enjoyable environment – and also continue to make use of virtual platforms to extend our reach.
Why is it important to you to love local?
It is so important to love local businesses as it helps the whole community. The business owners and employees are typically local residents, who are providing services for local residents. With the growing use of internet retailers and the demise of the High Street, these independent businesses bring life and character to the area. Our own business is all about supporting people to build attractive, well designed, efficient homes. No one wants to live in characterless boxes, all looking the same, and I believe this applies to our streetscapes and high streets. Local businesses can offer unique experiences and an outstanding, personal service.
To find out more about The National Self Build and Renovation Centre visit: www.nsbrc.co.uk or call 0345 223 44 55.
Follow the #LoveLocalWilts campaign on social media from Saturday 8th August – Friday 14th August to see all our Love Local Old Town coverage.