Growth and Small Business of the Year entrant – Aston Marina

Growth and Small Business of the Year entrant – Aston Marina
Posted on 08.05.24
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Growth and Small Business of the Year entrant – Aston Marina

Since opening as a marina with a small bistro and farm shop in 2010 Aston Marina has become one of Staffordshire’s culinary and tourism success stories.

The family-owned business now includes a wedding and events venue seating up to 180 people, a smaller venue for up to 50 guests and plans have been revealed for an on-site hotel which will create 25 new jobs.

The hotel will be built using environmentally sustainable technologies including solar panels on the roof, ground source geothermal bore holes for mechanical heating and cooling as well as hot water and efficient air source heat pumps.

The marina itself remains active; offering 200 narrow boat moorings with picturesque views, premium washroom facilities, complementary WIFI, fuel, chandlery shop and a marina office open every day of the week.

Since the business began in 2010 it has been awarded a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence every year, putting it in the top 10% of restaurants worldwide. Google, Facebook and ResDiary all show ongoing and consistent excellent ratings for both food and service – all platforms have at least 4.5-5/5 stars over 15 years.

The restaurant was named Enjoy Staffordshire’s Independent Restaurant of the Year in 2019 and 2022 and won Good Food awards in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Aston Marina hosts events throughout the year to support local charities, schools and colleges. In 2023 more than £5,000 was donated to causes including Katharine House Hospice, A Child of Mine, Douglas Macmillan Hospice and Stone Food & Drink Festival as well as local schools. Events have included a charity Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween Trail, charity painting classes, gala dinners plus regular donations for raffle and auction prizes.

Aston Marina Director Helen Clayton, whose parents co-founded the business, said: “We look to the local community when it comes to recruiting the team. 95% of the workforce live within 10 miles of Aston Marina and all are encouraged with the ethos of being friendly and professional at all times when they’re at work – to our customers and each other.”

The marina has a strong commitment to the environment. In 2023 extensive renovation of the entire marina saw upgrading all of the wooden decking, walkways and pontoons to Dura Composite, an environmentally-friendly alternative to wooden decking.

2023 also saw planning permission granted for an electric vehicle car park with 20 new parking spaces and 10 car chargers.

Aston Marina has entered the Growth and Small Business of the Year categories of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.

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