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Gloucestershire Business News

Rent rise forces popular venue to relocate

A bakery and events hub that has been a hot business prospect near Stroud has told its growing customer base it must relocate – due to a rent rise of 129%.

The Boho Collective, which incorporates the Boho Bakery and is based at Court's Farm in King's Stanley, began life in 2021 after owner Pennie McKenzie ran a travelling catering business that saw international success within the entertainments industry.

Initially producing cakes, traybakes and desserts, the business quickly developed to offer meals and savoury snacks and an outside-catering range of options. Overall, a team of more than 25 are now employed by the business, which opens every day of the week.

Working alongside Pennie, co-owner and partner Dave Johns also helped develop an increasingly popular events side to the business, with the Boho Barn regularly hosting music sessions, classic car meets and community gatherings.

Often in support of local charities, the venue has been home to a diverse range of celebrations, including PTA events and comedy nights. It's housed ceilidhs, visits from Father Christmas with his reindeers and even an eco ice skating rink using synthetic polymer ice, as well as YouTube-prominent gatherings of vintage American cars and an offbeat dog show called 'Crusts'.

But in a move that has surprised the local community, Ms McKenzie posted a statement this week to reveal the entire business is upping sticks.

She said: "For the past two years we have loved residing in, what we thought would be, our forever home. Our mission, wherever we go, is always the same, 'to create community'."

The aim has always been made easy by the "amazing residents of the Stanley's and Middle Yard," she added and the business had been determined to run "an events calendar for all ages, to bring the community together".

"It is, therefore, with a very heavy heart that we announce an end to this chapter of Boho.

Although we have grown as the Barn has... the initial agreement with our landlord is coming to an end and, despite months of attempted negotiations, in order to continue operating as we are we would need to support a rental increase of 129% - not something we can afford."

Pennie told Punchline that the plan, for the Boho Barn to take over the Scrumptious Café in Chalford, was "a natural fit".

"Chalford is such an exciting business prospect: a close community, lovely people who are up for a laugh and, we feel, will really resonate with the Boho vibe - after achieving so much here and growing the business, we feel lucky to be heading there."

But she added: "It's been concerning as a transition for the young people who we have taken on though: our core aim has always been to create Boho for the people and we take a big responsibility for ensuring the incredible young team who work with us navigate this change with minimum impact on their wellbeing."

Remaining events at the farm include more car gatherings, bingo nights, pub quizzes, dog competitions and comedy sessions.

Pennie added: "Although we are devastated to be leaving the Barn, we are so grateful to have found our next home, just up the hill in Chalford.

Emma Hinchliffe, Events Coordinator, added: "We intend to make the most of the time we have left in the Barn. The bar will be open, the coffee machine on and the guys in the kitchen will be cooking and baking up a storm."

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