Stephen Harris – Stocktaker Maidstone & Canterbury
Based in Sittingbourne and covering Canterbury, Medway Towns, Ashford
I was a publican for 20 years and left the trade after a motorcycle accident meant I was unable to cope with the 7-day-a-week commitment. When I saw my franchise area up for sale I thought this was an ideal way to remain my own boss in an industry I understood. This was in 2004
As a Stocktaker in Maidstone & Canterbury, my business has grown steadily over the years to a level that keeps me busy, but it is a level at which I am able to maintain a decent work / life balance. I enjoy being my own boss, something I have been for most of my working life. I enjoy travelling to work in different locations every day, meeting different people every day, enjoy the fact that each job has its own challenges. I also enjoy building a rapport with regular clients, something I enjoyed whilst a publican.
Prior to being a Publican I worked in a small family business. Went to Grammar School and educated to ‘O’ Level standard before going to work.
I have been lucky in that I haven’t had to chase after clients…word of mouth has often seen me through. I have also done a mixture of national account work along with my personal business. This has broadened my experience and knowledge, plus it was often a nice change to work with colleagues.
I am gregarious and enjoy meeting people. I have an eclectic interest in many things so can generally join in with most conversations. It also helps with quizzes. I have two motorcycles. Eating and drinking I love (not just because they’re kind of essential for existence!), but not too much as I am losing weight, with the intention of gaining my glider pilot licence. I also have a shotgun licence, but only for clay pigeon shooting. The only way I shoot living creatures is with a camera, which is another interest of mine.
If you could go back in time and offer your former self any advice what would it be?
Never start smoking! I gave up some 30 years ago…the best thing I ever did. If you enjoy being your own boss, with a varied work load, and are gregarious by nature then a franchise in the licensed trade could well be what you’re looking for.
# Stocktaker Maidstone & Canterbury