Skip To The Main Content

How one entrepreneur has built a model business

Anita Brakewell took over Blackpool Model Village in 2000, and has since sought to expand it.

Q. How did you end up owning a model village? 
I answered a PO Box advert in the local paper for a job at the village. Within two or three months I had fallen in love with the place. In 2000, I bought the business. The owner wanted to sell and I was offered first refusal. 

Q. How has it developed? 
The park was quite small when I bought it. We worked with a local gardening company to design the grounds and it has grown around the site. We opened an ice-cream parlour six years ago and have benefited from joining the local leisure pass scheme, which allows people to visit nine attractions with one ticket at a discount. 

Q. What’s the best thing about self-employment? 
The best thing is the control over what you do – and knowing we are preserving a piece of Blackpool history. 

Q. What’s the worst? 
Long hours! People assume that we get a long holiday in the winter, but that’s when we maintain the exhibits, giving them coats of paint and working on new models. 

Q. What difficulties has the business faced? 
We’ve had vandals in the past, and we have been broken into twice this year. We have had to buy specialist security equipment, which has been quite costly. 

Q. What advice would you give to someone starting their own business? 
Go for it! It’s hard work but so rewarding. 

Q. Tell us something fun.
We have lots of wildlife in the village. We had 32 baby ducks born in 2018 – they followed my partner Michael around wherever he went.

Q. How has your FSB membership helped you? 
I use the website a lot to find information. We don’t have an advertising team, marketing or legal team so it’s good to know we have advice and support when we need it.