Once the place to be for dancing the night away, and then vacant for many years the iconic building that is The Arcadia in Portrush has enjoyed a new lease of life over the past five years, thanks to Tanya Gillen.
Having already launched a café, fitness classes and workshops, Tanya dreamt of hosting wedding parties and an evening supper club; an extension to her business that would take significant planning and investment.
Thanks to insightful business mentoring from her Venture Causeway champions, Jack Cassidy (JKC BMW) and Norman Lynas (Lynas Food Service) coupled with their investment of £10,000 Tanya has renovated The Arcadia to create more business and employment opportunities.
“I pitched to Venture Causeway for investment for a Supper Club and to improve the space available for weddings,” she says. “I also hoped I’d get a bit of business support and I am so lucky to have benefitted from both.”
With her champions on board, Tanya was given free rein to complete the renovations, all of which were done by local contractors. She subsequently replaced the tiled floor and large cumbersome counter downstairs, and invested in furnishings for her cafe.
As a result, Tanya doubled her seating space and is now taking bookings for weddings and private functions creating around six new jobs.
“We now also have Supper Club once a month,” she adds. “The Arcadia is going to be a facility for chefs to come in and serve a large group in one sitting in a beautiful setting with panoramic views of the Atlantic. We hope to have it once a month, then every three weeks, then every Saturday night!”
“The investment was very important, but the mentoring from Norman and Jack has been invaluable. Jack was very supportive and Norman Lynas was a big influence – his business acumen and support has steered me through.
“One of the most pertinent questions he asked me was – is this a hobby or a business? It really sharpened my focus and has made me re-think things. The advice was very insightful and I’m very positive about the future!”