A keen traveller who opened a popular backpackers’ hostel in Hull is urging aspiring entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.
Glenn Gavin, 50, says his passion for simple accommodation that is “clean, safe and central” when travelling the world led him to opening the Hull Trinity Backpackers hostel in the city centre.
The facility, in Market Place in Hull’s Old Town, opened 20 months ago and has attracted rave reviews from guests both in person and online.
And at the start of Humber Business Week, which runs from Monday 3 to Friday 7 June, Glenn is urging aspiring entrepreneurs to access the business support available to those in the city.
Glenn, who was born in Hull and now lives in Sheffield where he works as a college lecturer, has been awarded £16,000 from the council’s Old Town Grant Scheme to help him grow the business.
He has also accessed four of 12 free hours of advice and support from the council’s business growth scheme in areas such as social media, marketing advice and mentoring – and plans to take advantage of free workshops delivered and funded by the Humber Business Growth Hub.
He urged business people in Hull to seek the support available to them as they follow their dreams.
“I was born and bred in east Hull, but work took me away for lots of years,” he said. “I’ve always loved travelling. I have travelled globally for work and leisure and often stayed in hostels.
“I have stayed in hotels that are good as out there, but I have always loved the simple hostel, staying somewhere clean, safe and central. So I have tried to set up the kind of place I would look for.
“The grant has enabled me to try to create a space for people who are coming through the city.
“I have a lot of professionals staying during the week, including a psychiatrist, trainee doctors and contractors working locally, and the grant has enabled me to add facilities to suit their needs. I have a kitchenette, new washing facilities and broadband. I also have a decent coffee machine in here.
“It works for students for sure and it certainly suits travellers – I have had travellers from all over the world. I also get local people staying here to avoid the angst of getting taxis too.
“I am independent, I am as small as they get. But there is a model here. I could not have better feedback. Mine is as high online as anywhere in the city. What I do, I do well.”
The facility features 25 beds priced from £19 to £30 at the Georgian building next to the popular Trinity Market.
And Glenn has now set up a small bike hire operation at the building, with rental for £6 for half a day £10 for a full day.
“I love cycling and I often have cyclists coming through here,” he said.
“I now have three city bikes for hire and three better bikes. I have put a bike out at the railway station too. The council is investing a lot of money into cycling in the city and I love all of that.
“It’s a bit hand to mouth – there is no point in getting 10 bikes just yet, but there is very little provision for cycle hire in the city. I think there is a market for it, but it’s just getting it off the ground. For some people, cycling is a way of life.”
Glenn now says he wants to ditch lecturing and run the hostel and cycle hire full-time.
“The business support officers were great to work with, both when I applied for the Old Town Grant Scheme and support since then.
“It’s an easy thing to say go for it, go for your dream. A lot of people will rubbish your idea, but get good advice and good support. You have to be patient. I am 20 months in but you have to prepare to go the hard miles. It’s not a profitable business, but I know what I offer is going down brilliantly.”
Read more about Humber Business Week here.
And find more about support for businesses in Hull by emailing [email protected]