With its mid-England location, excellent transport links, and a fairly young client base propped up by a small student population, the former manufacturing centre of Northampton has a lot to offer hospitality entrepreneurs.
Nigel Atkinson, hospitality consultant at Northampton-based property agent Underwoods, describes the market for hospitality businesses in the town as "buoyant".
On the pubs front, freehold opportunities tend to go for upwards of £500,000 and get snapped up pretty quickly, says Atkinson, with leasehold businesses starting at £60,000 to £70,000. Hot spots for the wet trade include Wellingborough Road, Kettering Road and Giles Street. Sports bars do well in the town.
An opportunity for restaurateurs exists at the high end of the market. Atkinson says there are only "one or two" fine-dining establishments in the centre, with the majority in nearby villages. But he cautions against doing anything too adventurous or cosmopolitan. A few Mexican restaurants tried and failed, whereas traditional-style pub chains like Chef & Brewer do well.
What would work, says Atkinson, is a good Italian restaurant on the edge of town, where the Six Fields football stadium and St James retail park offer opportunities for F&B businesses.
The future for the local economy looks bright, with plenty of government-backed housing schemes underway in nearby places like Wellingborough, where 3,000-4,000 homes are being built on the outskirts.