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Gloucestershire Business News

Closure of well-known employment law and HR firm explained

Mystery has surrounded the closure of one of the county's best known and highly respected firm of legal and HR experts - until now.

Ian and Julie Heather, co-founding directors of the highly respected Heather Resource Management Limited (HRML) have spoken to Punchline about why they decided to close the business after 17 years.

Initially it might look a surprising decision, as the last five years have been "very strong" for the firm, but the timing means the well-known couple to go out on a high.

Ultimately it is a decision made so they can do what many business owners dream of - enjoying their retirement and spending more time with their family. The couple have four grown up children and an 18-month-old grandson.

Mr Heather said: "It was not an easy decision having built HRML up to a major player in the local HR scene. Julie and I have often described developing the business as 'raising another child' and our business was by far the most demanding, but also very rewarding.

We count ourselves as being very fortunate to have worked with so many great companies and played a part in their growth and success".

Mrs Heather paid tribute to the team of staff that played such a large part in the firm's success: "Our achievements have in a large part been down to our amazing talented team of HR and employment law specialists.

"We have greatly enjoyed working with them and would like to express our appreciation for all their hard work and effort.

"We wish them all the very best for the future and are confident that they will all go on to further success in the future".

HRML became something of a household name in the Gloucestershire business community, and its success allowed it to sponsor of the Gloucestershire Women in Business Awards, the Believe in Gloucester Awards and most recently The Cheltenham Business Awards.

HRML has also enjoyed its own successes on the award front with Julie having won the Mentor of the Year Award in the South West Women in Business Awards in 2011 and the firm was a finalist in 2014 in the Business of the Year category of the Women in Business Awards.

HRML has also been a long-term supporter of the Hatherley and Reddings Cricket Club.

Their journey in business began back in 2001. They were working long hours and had two young boys at the time. They felt this was the time for more of a work life balance and established HRML to focus on supporting Gloucestershire based SMEs.

Mr Heather said: "People often said that we would never make a company work if we only focused on Gloucestershire and that we would have to go to London or a much larger area.

"We stuck to our guns and there are so many amazing businesses in this county, it was not difficult to make it work and prove them wrong. Travelling the country was not necessary thanks to the county's diverse business base and its incredibly supportive business community."

Like many new businesses, the couple started the business from the kitchen table but then moved to an office in the Cheltenham Film Studios after a couple of years and then onto their current office in Twigworth.

Mrs Heather said: "The idea of an HR and employment law consultancy was completely new in those early days, but we quickly got our name out there and by providing a professional, practical and sensitive service to our clients, word soon got around and we grew through client recommendations and our reputation".

As for the future?

Mr Heather added: "Julie and I are determined to give something back. I will still be doing my voluntary work with GFirst LEP helping school pupils with mock interviews and Young Enterprise initiatives. Julie will also continue her involvement with The Growth Hub, running HR workshops.

"Both Julie and I will be keeping our trustee work and volunteering for the charities we are involved with. With our children spread across the country we also plan to spend more time with them and of course there is the travelling we would like to do.

"We have trips already booked to Vietnam, Cambodia and the Canadian Rockies. Last but by no means least with myself and our two sons all keen golfers, Julie has been taking golf lessons, so she can join us on the course".

Punchline says: We wish Julie and Ian all the very best for the future and thank them for what they have added to the Gloucestershire business community over the last near two decades. Although it doesn't sound like they are leaving the fold entirely.

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