Mondays, 2:00 PM ET on BBC Two
Watch Alex Polizzi as she turns around family businesses, not just hotels.
s3e8 David Holmes / Guidebridge MOT, The Fixer Revisits
April 3, 2015
Two years ago, Alex was faced with two family businesses on the brink of collapse - David Holmes and Sons, a family-run funeral directors, and Guidebridge MOT, a car repair garage near Manchester. When Alex first met them, both businesses were run by families with parents who were desperate to hand over the reins to their offspring. But with falling sales and a lack of engagement from the kids, this looked unlikely. Alex used her unique expertise to bring these two firms back from breaking point. But how have they fared since she first met them? Have they continued to flourish, or have they gone back to their bad business habits? At David Holmes and Sons, Alex discovers that the funeral industry is a tricky world within which to run a business. Dealing with grief needs sensitive handling, but David has let this get in the way of charging properly for his services. More problematic are his two sons who are uncommitted, lethargic and not sure they even want to work in the funeral business. Alex tries to reinvent their business by getting them to reconnect with the local community and giving the shop a much more upmarket facelift. She also forces David to interview his sons to flush out whether the funeral business is for them. The relaunch is a big success, and eldest son Olly rises to the challenge by committing to the business in a more senior role. But how have things fared since Alex left? Has David let Olly take charge, or has he reverted to old unprofitable habits? At Guidebridge MOT, Alex meets matriarchal business owner Jan Lord. She and her husband fulfilled a dream of running a business employing all three of their children. But with a desperate lack of customers, there isn't enough work to keep them all busy, and Jan faces the prospect of making one or more of her kids redundant. Alex has her work cut out. The garage is a mess, customer service is poor and there seems to be too much time messing about rather than working. Worse still, Jan is hiding the true state of the company from the rest of the family. Alex embarks on a dramatic transformation with customer-service training, an overhaul of the garage and the securing of a lucrative fleet-car contract. When she leaves them, they are a business transformed. But how are things two years later? Has Jan realised her dream of letting her children take over?
Entrepreneur Alex Polizzi wages a one-woman campaign to save family firms struggling in the current financial climate. She begins with a bridalwear business in Kettering, Northamptonshire, run by a mother and her two squabbling daughters. Owner Anne Preece has remortgaged her house to keep the shop afloat, but profits are still falling, the premises are tired, dated and overstocked, and the constant arguing doesn't help. Alex has her work cut out turning around the business's fortunes and getting the women to re-evaluate their personal feelings.