"Independence, running a business we love"

Stuart Dixon and Trevor Finlay are an ideal professional team, thanks to their respective backgrounds and chose a CeX location in Northern Ireland for their first collaborative business venture. Gareth Samuel investigates how these two hardworking franchise owners have carved out impressive success.

Going into business together was, for Stuart and Trevor, a natural progression. They had been friends for many years before combining their professional experience and investing in a CeX location in Northern Ireland. Stuart explains: “I used to work for CeX as a Store Manager, so I understood how the business worked and had always wanted to work for myself. Being able to become a franchise owner within the business I have grown up in has been a great opportunity for me.” Trevor, on the other hand, had an extensive background in the business world and knew a great opportunity when he saw one. “I have experience running retail businesses and could see the benefit of the structure CeX have within their business model,” adds Trevor. “This appealed to me.”

The pair raised the capital for their business through bank finance primarily. CeX was instrumental in helping the pair obtain the funding they needed by working with the major banks. Now, Trevor and Stuart have three stores in Northern Ireland and are actively looking to extend their already impressive portfolio. This expansionist ambition is a typically innate trait of many CeX franchise owners and the support that CeX provides enables these goals to be achieved more often than not. Stuart says: “Despite being well established, we have on-going Operational Support from our local Operations Manager which is invaluable in ensuring that our businesses continue to develop and grow. In retailing, every day brings new challenges and we could not do things as successfully on our own.”

As with any business, the pair has had to overcome obstacles on the path to success. Trevor adds: “The impact of the decline in cross border trade from the Irish Republic had a detrimental effect on many retailers in recent times. However, regardless of the uncertainty, CeX’s model continues to grow successfully and they are now growing in Ireland too, which can only help things further in future.” Needless to say, as Ireland’s economy recovers and grows, their business prospects are looking very good indeed.

Looking forward, both Trevor and Stuart are united in their goals to expand further and are not shy about vocalising their adulation for CeX as a business. “It (CeX) has given us both independence running a business we love,” explains Trevor.

Stuart concludes with some simple advice, of which he is excellently positioned to give: Understand what you are planning to do, talk it through with friends and respected business people who can give you some impartial advice. Talk to some of the existing franchisees and learn from their experiences.”