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Chamber Of Commerce And WSX Enterprise Host Business Lunch At Pennsylvania Castle

Biz Lunch

3:09pm 12th November 2012

Over 30 people attended an exclusive lunch at the recently refurbished Pennsylvania Castle on Portland on Thursday 8th November.  The event was hosted by the Weymouth& Portland Chamber of Commerce and WSX Enterprise (formerly Business Link).

Guest of honour was the Mayor of Weymouth & Portland, Cllr Margaret Leicester who met local business owners and members of the local Chamber.  Fiona Penny of Sunflowers Floral Design presented a bouquet to Cllr Leicester on behalf of the Chamber.

Jo Peters, Manager of the Pennsylvania Hotel said “Although the Castle has been around for a long time, it is a relatively new business owned by the Colonial Leisure Group – one of Australia’s leading Pub and Hotel operators that already own a large number of bars and hotels across Victoria and WA along with Orpheus Island – a luxury Island situated on the Great Barrier Reef.  The Colonial group acquired the Castle in January 2011 with a vision to reopen the Castle as a local venue for Weddings, Functions , Private Rentals and Corporate events”.

Ms Peters went on to say “ In August the Colonial group invested in excess of £600k in a new company named “Rock” a local restaurant and events business.  The newest restaurant “Rock Wimborne” opened in October and “Rock Westbourne” will open later this month.  There are 4 more Rock Restaurants planned in Dorset. It is very important that we remain close to the business communities of Portland and Weymouth and we are very pleased to be co-hosting this event today” .

Colonial are now continuing to look for further investment opportunities within the hospitality industry through its Investment Fund Company  - 2CR Limited – which funds entrepreneurial businesses of any type with investments from £100k to £2m.

The Castle recently appeared on the E4 “Made in Chelsea” programme and as a direct result of this national TV exposure the traffic to the Castles website has gone up over 3000% and has generated over 90k tweets.  The Castle is now enjoying an increase in bookings as a direct result of this TV coverage.

WSX Enterprise then held a training seminar concentrating on “Planning for Growth” which guests found interesting and informative.   WSX are hosting training events in November and full details can be found at :  www.wsxenterprise.co.uk.    The Price is Right on 15th November in Sturminster Newton.  The second event is entitled Do you really know your customers on  21st November in Charlton Down.   Alternatively guests can try the  BusinessXchange meetings, the next one is on 29th November at Kingston Maurward. Book at www.businessxchange.org.uk

Anna Maria Geare, President of the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce then gave a review of what had been accomplished by the Chamber during 2012 and some of the plans for 2013.  The next Chamber event will be Business at Break Net Speed on 20th November a “speed networking” event inspired by speed dating!  The meeting is fast, informal and beneficial, you do not have to be a member of the Chamber to take part, simply register at www.wpchamber.co.uk/events.  Guests were then invited to join the Weymouth & Portland Chamber at a special introductory rate which would guarantee membership until end of 2013.   65% of the guests agreed to join the Chamber which was very encouraging, some new members decided to rejoin the chamber after a break of a couple of years.  Membership now stands at 140 members, a 60% increase on 2011 numbers.

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