A Gloucestershire driving instructor out of work during the pandemic has started a new model train sales business.
Jill Stevens, who has run her own driving school in Ledbury and Hereford for the past 12 years, started her new business after finding a leftover garbage bag of collectibles at her home in Newent during the nationwide lockdown last year.
Ms Stevens put the items up for sale on E-bay and after selling all of the first 20 she listed, she is now working full time at her e-commerce store on the site, Jill’s Trains.
After a period of operating from her spare bedroom at home and looking for additional inventory from auction houses, Ms. Steven has now moved her business to a 350 square foot unit at the Space Business Center in Quedgeley, near Gloucester.
Ms Stevens said the move to a business address would allow her to accommodate an increased range of products, including model trains, tracks and accessories made by toy makers such as Hornby, Bachmann, Playcraft and Wrenn.
“The business was so successful that I needed a bigger place,” she explained. “I always buy from auction houses and flea markets and I really like it.
“I loved being a driving instructor but if someone had told me a year ago I wouldn’t be an instructor, I would sell model trains, I wouldn’t have believed it.
“My dad passed away a few years ago, but I know he will look at me and smile because he loved trains a lot and he would have found it funny.”
Mrs Stevens said BusinessLive she has been able to secure business accounts with larger companies now that she has a business address – and is hoping to move to a larger location in the future.
“I started with a smaller unit but would like to upgrade to a larger unit,” she added. “It already opens so many more doors.”
Katy Lawson, site manager at the Space Business Center, said: “The lockdown has caused many people to consider their future careers, adopt new hobbies or rekindle their interest in old hobbies. “
Ms Lawson added: “Jill stumbled upon her new business venture, but it is already paying dividends and we wish her the best of luck in her new career in transportation.”
Space Business Gloucester is owned by real estate investment company AC Lloyd and is one of the company’s two centers in Gloucestershire.
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