The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 1 December 2005

Fairfield House Hotel’s major

refurbishment complete

A MAJOR refurbishment costing £750,000 has now been completed at the Fairfield House Hotel in Ayr.

The ground floor of the building, including the reception area, bar, and restaurant has been renovated, creating a stylish but not ultra-modern look that blends in perfectly with the hotel’s striking exterior on the edge of the Low Green looking out over the Firth of Clyde.

General manager Stuart Maxwell told Ayrshire Scotland Business News: “Perhaps in the past there may have been a tendency for the hotel to have been regarded as slightly stuffy - a place where people might go once a year for a special occasion.

“But if that was ever the case, things have certainly changed now, as we have succeeded in creating a relaxed, informal atmosphere with prices that are eminently affordable.

“The result is that our clientele come back on a much more frequent basis, whether it be for coffee, a quiet drink, lunch or an evening meal.”

The building itself dates from 1900, starting life as the private dwelling of a Glasgow tea merchant. When it first became a hotel it was known as the Marine Court.

It was bought by its present owner, former Ayr accountant George Martin, in 1990, the year after its name was changed to Fairfield House Hotel.

General manager Stuart Maxwell (32) was appointed in March this year.

Stuart lives in Ayr with his wife Kate and son James (4).

Originally from Portpatrick, Stuart obtained a degree in hotel management before working for a variety of hotel chains throughout the UK including Hilton, Stakis and de Vere.

He now heads a staff of 50 at the Fairfield House Hotel. Assistant manager Craig Adam from Troon, whose family are also in the hotel business, worked on the cruise ship QE2 for 10 years, and head chef Will Hay used to run the kitchen in restaurants owned by Gary Rhodes.

With its Fairfield suite and boardroom, the 44-bedroom hotel also hosts conferences, seminars and weddings, and can cater for up to 150 delegates or guests.

The Fairfield Leisure Club has a well-equipped gymnasium and an indoor heated swimming pool complete with spa bath.

All guests are welcome to use these and the other facilities, which include a sauna and steamroom, providing the perfect way to relax and unwind.

Hotel life is never quiet, but Stuart Maxwell and his team must be glad that all the refurbishment work has been completed in good time for the particularly busy festive season that is now upon us.

For further information, visit, or telephone 01292 267461.

Web link:
Fame Publicity

The Open Press

Monday, 21 November 2005

Ayrshire Business News Headlines:

Aromatics boss scents

sweet smell of success

THE boss of one of Scotland's best known toiletries firms is putting his faith in the pull of the high street.

Setting up shop in the city and centralising the company's distribution arm in Ayrshire, Andrew Russell, of Arran Aromatics, is intent on shaping the future of the 16-year-old business.

>>> MORE....

Troon kids get a taste

for cafe culture

A NEW kids' cafe in Troon, Ayrshire has taken chips off the menu and introduced healthy meals. Former chartered accountant Jane Hoey hit on the idea of a child-friendly cafe after searching for places to take her own two children - Caitlin, nearly three, and Charlie, 10 months.

>>> MORE....

Way clear for Open return to Turnberry

The final obstacle in the long-awaited plan to bring the Open Championship back to Turnberry has been removed and a decision to take golf's oldest major back to the Ayrshire links in 2009 now seems to be a formality.

The Open is reckoned to be worth £50m to the local economy.

>>> MORE....

Two pints of lager and a great

food experience please, landlord

PUB chefs have emerged as Scotland's unlikely culinary masters after being singled out for praise in the latest edition of the prestigious Egon Ronay food guide.

One establishment highlighted in the guide is the family-run Sorn Inn, in Ayrshire, set up just three years ago, which is the only gastropub in Scotland to receive a coveted star.

Craig Grant, the owner, found out about its inclusion last week and expects a boom in trade following publication of the guide. He said: "In most pubs across central Scotland the menus are virtually the same. We wanted to do something different and spotted a niche market for fine dining. It certainly seems to be working for us, and we are delighted to be included in the guide."
>>> MORE....

Cameron in pledge to Scots Tories

Tories in Scotland will be free to decide for themselves whether or not to offer income tax cuts in the next Holyrood election, Conservative Party leadership contender David Cameron said.

He made the pledge during a visit to Ayr, before taking part in a campaign hustings event in Perth with rival candidate David Davis.

>>> MORE....

First Independent Finance shows

how to drive a great bargain

Asset finance broker First Independent Finance managing director Allan Ross dispels the mysteries of motor car finance

* * *

As a car enthusiast I know buying a car can be great fun . . . days spent in showrooms, looking at the small ads, comparing new models, negotiating the deal and the joy of delivery.

There’s nothing like it – except, that is, the first drive in the new car.

My first car was a Hillman Avenger, and I can even remember its registration number. In the heady days of the 1980’s young farmers drove RS2000s, Ford Capri GTs and even Audi Quattro’s! I wish I had known more about car finance then, for then I might have been able to afford to drive my dream, as opposed to the car with the “It’s a Secret Disco” tax disc, no heater and complimentary blankets. Happy days!

The Avenger was followed by the green mini that could be jammed into awkward places by my boy racer farming friends just to wind me up. Next came a 1300 Fiat Mirafiori, which disintegrated into rust.

Then a milestone in the form of company cars. Strangely, although those were much better cars: RS2000s, Cavalier SRIs, even a Rover Sterling and they didn’t cost me anything, they never had quite the same appeal as owning my own car. They were my office. I didn’t choose them and I remember someone once saying “Something you get for nothing has little value.”

Now though, I’m back to choosing my own cars and paying for them out of my own pocket.
So what’s this have to do with car finance? Well, whilst cars are fun and exciting purchases, finance is dull and boring. Hardly surprising then that the finance option is often chosen in a hurry or done in the same way as its always been, usually through the dealer.

Here’s my tips to drive the car you want, not the one you think you can afford.
• HIRE PURCHASE – Most popular method, pay deposit and fund the balance over a fixed period. Usually the rate is fixed but variable rates are available. At the end of the agreement you pay a small fee along with your final payment and you own it.Pros – This method of funding is simple, early settlement figures are reasonable and its an industry standard with APRs making it easy to compare costs. Cons – You don’t have title until the final payment.

• LEASING – Becoming more popular for VAT registered businesses and some can reclaim half the VAT. Pros – It’s flexible. You may get a VAT benefit and deposits are usually small. Cons – Settlement figures can be high: you never actually own the car.

• CONTRACT HIRE – This is for you if you are looking for a car to be supplied and you want to pay a rental which takes into account maintenance and service costs, you want the rental to reflect the fact that the car goes back to the supplier at the end of the agreement with him benefiting from its value at this point. The rentals are usually lower than other options, as are the deposits and you have the comfort of knowing that your car is being maintained to the manufacturers specification. Pros – no hassle and supplier takes a view of what it will be worth at some point in the future, maintains it and if you are VAT registered you may be able to claim back some VAT. Cons – If you go over the agreed mileage on the vehicle – it can be expensive.

• CAR LOANS – You borrow a sum of money that is not secured on the car. Again, a very simple method. Pros – The car is not secured against the loan and therefore not registered on HPI. Cons – Sometimes the APR can be a little higher.

• OVERDRAFT – Write a cheque and it’s yours. Pros – Dead easy. Cons – It’s difficult to say what it ends up costing, as you never really know how long it is on your overdraft for. Don’t forget those annual renewal fees and bank charges, which are often charged on the debit balances of your overdraft.

• BALLOON HP – This is how I finance my car . . . but don’t tell anyone – it’s a secret! This allows me to drive top of the range at a low monthly payment I negotiate the best price I can at the dealers then I put a deposit down. I then pay 36 equal monthly payments, followed by a final payment roughly equal to the anticipated trade value. Pros – Great car. Cheap repayment and, at the end of the agreement, I can take ownership. Cons – Settlement figures are often higher than standard HP. And make sure you set the value of the balloon payment at the end realistically.

There’s a variety of places to get your deal done such as A BROKER – I’d like to say my company but I’m not allowed to. So lets say someone knows what they are doing, a reputable broker who can be trusted, who wants your business and most importantly who wants you to go back to them. Someone who has a range of products and is independent of promoting any single finance. A reputable broker can offer a genuine choice. YOUR BANK – Often an easy quick route and deals are usually reasonable but not always as good as one expects. THE INTERNET – Sometimes great deal but solving problems can be difficult. THE MOTOR DEALER – Some great deals but watch out . . . sometimes if you negotiate a deal without finance you might get a better discount and then get your finance elsewhere.

Whatever deal you end up selecting, go with one your comfortable with. Now where’s that balloon with my Bentley keys. I wish.

* Allan Ross is managing director of First Independent Finance Ltd
Issued by Fame Publicity Services
10 Miller Road
AYR, Ayrshire

Telephone: 01292 281498

Monday, 14 November 2005

Ayrshire Business News Headlines:

House prices rise in Ayrshire

>>> MORE

Reappointment to Ayrshire

and Arran NHS Board

Health Minister Andy Kerr has announced the re-appointment of Professor George Irving as Chair of Ayrshire & Arran NHS Board.

>>> Scottish Executive

>>> Ayrshire & Arran NHS Board

Ayrshire leads investment in

Scottish research

and development

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire is leading the field in terms of public investment in research and development.

SE Ayrshire has approved more funding for projects in the region under the R and D Plus programme than any other local enterprise company area in Scotland. It’s estimated the public body’s £2.2 million investment will see returns of more than £14 million from the private sector on R and D activity, over the next two years.

>>> MORE....

Friday, 11 November 2005

Barr Holdings for sale

(The Herald)

BARR Holdings has been put up for sale two years after new management was parachuted in to turn around the construction to waste management combine, sparking fears about the future of around 100 Scottish jobs.

>>> MORE ....

Prestwick Airport expanding

at the double (The Herald)

SCOTLAND'S fastest-growing airport is planning to double its capacity in an attempt to handle five million passengers a year in the next decade.

Glasgow Prestwick in Ayrshire has launched a feasibility study to examine doubling the size of its departure lounge and the number of parking stands from six to 12.

>>> MORE...

>>> Glasgow Prestwick International Airport

Friday, 4 November 2005

First Independent Finance is now

the biggest UK asset finance broker

A company based in Stewarton, Ayrshire is showing that in a modern age of technology, you don’t have to be based in a big city or rely solely on the Internet to be a success.

First Independent Finance Ltd, an asset finance broker, has been able to blend the services offered by modern communications, and still offer personal face-to-face assistance for businesses throughout the UK when they need help in financing the assets their companies require to be successful.

And they are doing it from a head office based in the small Ayrshire town of Stewarton, supported by a team of 25 sales people from Inverness in the north to Kent in the south.

18 months ago they announced they had broken through the £100 million barrier, by advancing £100 million to their clients since they started the business in 1999. Now they have hit the £200 million mark, customers numbers continue to grow, and this comes on the back of winning Ayrshire Enterprise’s Best performing business employing 25-250 staff this year, and Best performing business under 25 staff last year.
It’s mainly down to the ongoing commitment and skill of the company’s staff, says managing director Allan Ross. “And that’s why last month, Investors in People awarded us our 3-year renewal, proving that we have continued to value our commitment to the people who do the job of keeping our customers happy.

“Meeting our customers and getting to know them personally is key to building trust and genuinely helping them achieve their business ambitions. Attention to detail and high-speed modern communications mean that we can offer a personal service and stay ahead of the competition. Customers are treated like family, that’s why they come back time after time,” says Allan.

The future is looking bright for First Independent Finance as this ambitious local company look for continued growth throughout the UK, as well as launching a new personal car loan scheme at very attractive rates.

More of First Independent Finance can be seen on their updated web site


First Independent Finance Ltd

Allan Ross set up First Independent Finance in 1999 with capital of just £10,000 in a spare bedroom of his house in Stewarton, Ayrshire.
Today his company employs 32 people from office premises in the town’s Dunlop Street, boasts an annual turnover of £60 million, and has become the largest general asset finance broker in the whole of the UK.
Allan explains: “We help businesses to find the best source of finance for large items of capital expenditure, whether it be a commercial vehicle, a computer system, printing equipment or a combine harvester.”

When First Independent Finance was set up, it concentrated on providing finance for farmers, as Allan and his co-director Robin Duncan had previously worked as regional managers in the agricultural finance divisions of major banks.
Since then, the company has diversified. Now it no longer offers finance just to farmers, but also to any type of business needing help with capital expenditure. Allan and his team can also organise personal car finance.
Allan says that First Independent Finance offers a one-stop approach to finance dealing by working with more than 20 leading finance houses, and because of the company’s increasing size, it can often come up with some of the best deals available.
It is this one-stop approach, combined with speed of response, quality local service, customer focus and attractive pricing that has led to First Independent Finance’s geographical coverage spreading from Inverness in the north down to Wales and Kent in the south.

Allan was brought up in Stewarton, and has been involved with many local organisations, including the Bonnet Guild and the Young Farmers.
He believes that Stewarton has great potential, and chose to establish his company in the town in order to back up that belief, saying: “It’s a great feeling to be able to bring jobs to my home town.”
Issued on behalf of First Independent Finance Ltd by Fame Publicity Services.


Allan W Ross
Managing Director
First Independent Finance Ltd
22 Dunlop Street
Stewarton, Ayrshire

Telephone: 01560 482911

Murdoch MacDonald
Fame Publicity Services
10 Miller Road
AYR, Ayrshire

Telephone: 01292 281498

Web links:
New staff appointment at Frazer Coogans Solicitors of Ayr

LEADING Ayrshire solicitors Frazer Coogans are pleased to announce the appointment of Stuart Paterson (26) to join their legal team.

Stuart’s remit will include conveyancing, family law, and personal accident and injury claims.

Born in Ayr, Stuart is a former pupil of Belmont Academy, and studied law at the University of Strathclyde and the Glasgow Graduate School of Law. He served his legal traineeship with Glasgow solicitors Cameron Macaulay.

His father is a house builder and his mother a teacher. Stuart said: “As a local boy, I am delighted to be coming back to work in Ayr.

Apart from the law, Stuart enjoys football and rugby, playing the latter for Hillhead Jordanhill.

Commenting on Stuart’s appointment, Frazer Coogans senior partner Norman G Geddes said: “We are delighted to be bringing back someone of Stuart’s calibre to Ayr. He will undoubtedly prove to be a great asset as part of Frazer Coogans’ continuing dynamic expansion.”

About Frazer Coogans Solicitors

Ayrshire solicitors Frazer Coogans have expanded rapidly from small beginnings in the 1980s to offer a friendly and personal service to all clients from their modern premises in Ayr town centre.

From their Ayr base, partners Norman Geddes, Austin Thomson, Lauren Fowler and assistant Laura Boswell – all experienced solicitors - along with their professional and dedicated staff, provide a comprehensive suite of legal services to Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland and the UK, with particular expertise in accident claims, personal injury damages, property conveyancing, divorce and family law, wills, estates and executries.

Frazer Coogans’ Ayr office operates a specialist Accident Claims & Personal Injury Damages Centre to assist clients in making claims for personal injury damages after road traffic, workplace, slip and trip accidents and also in criminal injuries compensation.

This Ayrshire firm of solicitors has also established a significant presence in Scotland’s property conveyancing market, advising clients on all aspects of buying, selling and leasing premises both domestic and commercial, and handling property conveyancing for diverse clients across Scotland.

Scottish divorce and family law is another area in which Frazer Coogans solicitors possess particular expertise, advising on the legal, financial and child related issues associated with divorce, providing negotiation for amicable settlement and undertaking litigation where needed.

Frazer Coogans solicitors also offer a professional, dedicated and sympathetic service for wills and estates in the UK, including the administration of estates and appointing executors.

In 2003 Frazer Coogans successfully attained the “Investors in People” standard.

The firm is fully computerised with Broadband connection. It occupies modern premises in the centre of Ayr with adjacent parking for clients and wheelchair-friendly access.


Issued on behalf of Frazer Coogans Solicitors by Fame Publicity Services.


Norman G Geddes
Senior Partner
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
Dalblair House
46 Dalblair Road

Tel: 01292 280499
Fax: 01292 611645 / 01292 272601

Murdoch MacDonald
Fame Publicity Services
10 Miller Road

Telephone: 01292 281498

Web links: New_staff_appointmentat_Frazer_Coogans_Solicitors_of_Ayr_38672.html