Steve Haines bought Beaucette Marina in 2005. He was already planning to relocate to the island and had developed a love for both Guernsey and Beaucette over years of cruising in local waters. Purchasing Beaucette, where he now lives, combines his natural entrepreneurial bent with his love of boating.
‘I bought Beaucette as a lifestyle business. It will probably never make lots of money but the payback for me is that I absolutely love it here. It’s my home. A lot of people who relocate here have boats. That was certainly one of the drivers for me.’
Steve Haines is no stranger to building a successful business. He set up a greeting cards company at the age of 23 which went on to enjoy an annual turnover of around £10m. Then, in his own words, he “got bored” so diversified into the gift market and the turnover peaked at £58m. The company has just reached its 35th birthday and Steve, while still the major shareholder, leaves its day-to-day running to someone else and is able to concentrate his efforts on developing Beaucette.
Steve’s first priority was to bring the marina’s maintenance up to scratch, so he invested in new pontoons and various other fixtures that were in urgent need of replacement.
‘I have invested a lot of money to get it where it is now. The marina has everything it needs now from a health and safety point of view.’
Since then, he has focused on realising his vision, which is to move Beaucette on from being just a marina to more of a ‘destination’ for both locals and visitors alike. As well as its 90 berths for visiting boaters and permanent residents, Beaucette now has number of shepherd huts, pitches for camper vans plus five floating cabins which Steve believes will be particularly popular with staycationers.
‘They are actually high-quality ski chalets and I was convinced we could make them float. If they can float here with the tidal changes and sea movement, they will certainly float on a lake and so this has opened up a new market for the suppliers. They have a life expectancy of about 25 years. They haven’t leaked or shown any structural weakness so have proved a good investment.’
The restaurant is the hub of what Steve describes as the Beaucette community. It’s where permanent marina residents meet for a drink, walkers stop for a morning coffee and where locals visit to eat. The restaurant cooks with as much local produce as possible with provenance being a key aspect. This ‘community hub’ atmosphere is part of the longer-term vision.
‘A normal marina is just like a car park for boats. Beaucette is not just a marina. People sometimes come here for two nights and stay for a month using this as their base. For boat owners, St Peter Port marina can be noisy, so it’s a different experience here altogether.’
Looking ahead, Steve wants to expand the business with more shepherd huts, more floating cabins, as well as looking at other ways to take full advantage of the marina’s location to create experiences and memories for locals and visitors alike. Incorporating wellness activities, guided walks, boat trips, foraging and wild swimming are all in the plan.
‘We have a good team in place to make it work and we can now grow without having to increase the team very much at all. We have the foundations to build the business. Having the right team is everything and for the team to understand the goals and where we are heading is key.’
It’s clear that Steve has put a lot of himself into the business. While he was travelling around the world in his own boat, he collected ideas that could work for Beaucette, and as a regular visitor to marinas he has simply asked himself what sort of services he would expect to see. He is clearly determined to offer that ‘something special’ and to go the extra mile for his guests and believes that the little things really matter.
‘I think that you can always tell the difference when a business owner is doing something just for the money or if they really love what they are doing. For me it’s all about thinking about what I would want from a destination like this. I want people to have a real experience and make memories here at Beaucette.’