Coastal Hire's Harcourt-Cooke keeps operation cooking.

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Coastal Hire's Harcourt-Cooke keeps operation cooking.

Coastal Hire’s Harcourt-Cooke keeps operation cooking.

With a good number of the group’s 70 stores around the country increasing turnover between 40% and 100% and very few growing by less than double figures, it was hardly surprising that John Harcourt-Cooke, owner of the Coastal Hire Franchise, was upbeat at the company’s recent conference.

“And all this,” he noted “in an environment where the world economy is in a mess and our leaders appear to be clueless.”

The Challenges

He went on to explain. “Clearly when Nixon removed the USA from the gold standard in 1971, which meant that money no longer needed to be supported by gold, and started printing money, everybody followed. Everything we ever learnt about financial prudence has been thrown on its head. We were brought up to get a good job for life, pay off all debts as quickly as possible and save for your retirement. When a government prints too much money savers are penalised and borrowers rewarded…Zimbabwe is probably the best example of this. The press has been full of the Fiscal Cliff crisis in the USA. Greece is being saved by printing of more Euro’s so Europe is no different. In our country it suits our leaders to expand the money supply and kill the exchange rate so that they can increase income from exports and supposedly create jobs. What that does to the rest of us is suicidal. Food and fuel prices are hiked and our savings devalued.”

“In our country,” he continued, “there are 6 million individual taxpayers that contribute 33% to the fiscus. A further 26% is raised by Vat and 5% by the fuel levy whilst corporate taxes make up around 20% and customs duties is around 5%. Of those individuals 10% pay 57% of the taxes. “

The Good News

“The good news, said Harcourt-Cooke – and to the obvious agreement of those franchisees gathered – “is that being in your own business in a good franchise is the most powerful place to be in this world gone mad. Investment is encouraged and rewarded, taxes can be minimised and assets protected.”

But, noted, Harcourt-Cooke, high standards and sustainability remain key to the ongoing success.

This has been the key to our success-investment in top quality equipment and store image.

“Our role remains as custodians of the standards and image of the brand and we will continue to take that role seriously.” Harcourt-Cooke noted that the evidence of the Coastal brand success was the fact that so few stores were up for sale, though he did note that there would be continued expansion into Africa.

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