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Lancashire-based Panache Cruises is celebrating moving to new premises in the Strawberry Fields Digital Hub despite having to navigate some extremely difficult waters during the pandemic.
The new offices in Chorley will house the current 15-strong Panache Cruises team and provide space for further expansion.
The move was backed by significant funding from Rosebud – a product managed by GC Business Finance on behalf of Lancashire County Council – which aims to help the growth of Lancashire businesses and the local economy by offering corporate loans between 10,000 and 10,000,000 support Â£ 300,000.
James Cole, Founder and General Manager of Panache Cruises, said, âWe are extremely grateful for the support from both Lancashire County Council and the Rosebud Fund. The funding will allow us to grow our business in line with our ambitious growth plans as we overcome the challenges of the pandemic. “
Rosebud Fund Manager Matt Robinson said: âThe success Panache has seen in its first year of trading despite economic conditions is remarkable but not a surprise. The company is led by a very impressive and experienced management team who have previously successfully built companies in this sector. “
He added, âWe are excited to be supporting another growing company based in Lancashire. Hopefully the opening of the new Chorley office will be another catalyst for the business as international travel opens up. “
County Cllr Aidy Riggott, Cabinet Member for Lancashire County Council for Economic Development and Growth, said, âIt’s always nice to hear when the Rosebud funding has allowed a company to build on its obvious strengths and take it to the next level.
“In this case, it is particularly gratifying to see a Lancashire company operating in a sector so severely affected by the pandemic continue to do well and increase investments in Chorley.”
James Cole is a longtime cruise industry veteran having worked in the industry for more than 20 years. Over the course of his career, he has owned two retail cruise lines valued at $ 100 million.
Panache Cruises’ goal is to become the UK’s largest luxury cruise retailer in the UK by 2027. Despite the significant impact COVID-19 has on the cruise industry, Cole says the industry’s long-term growth prospects remain strong.
He says that in light of COVID 19, Panache Cruises exceeded its first-year revenue forecast, with more than 300 cruises booked and Â£ 3 million in revenue.
He added, âWhen Panache Cruises was launched, it was never about short-term growth opportunities, but rather long-term growth opportunities. We know that cruises, especially the luxury sector, will grow significantly over the next five to ten years and our strategy is to grow with it.
âAlthough the pandemic has of course brought its challenges, it has also given us the opportunity to build a well-rehearsed and experienced team, to build strong connections with our cruise partners, and to build loyal relationships with customers who really enjoy our satisfaction and begin to love us to be trusted as your preferred cruise partner.
âOver 30 of our customers have booked more than one cruise with us and we have received 99% five-star ratings on Trustpilot. I think we are in great shape as the British are back on the road again. “
Looking to the Future Cole says the cruise market looks strong for 2022 and 2023 and that many of his customers want to spend more money on their next vacation and travel further.
Business also recorded the month with the highest sales in August.
He said: “Having not missed any cruises in the past 18 months, UK cruise lines are keen to get back on board.”