How Northampton couple went from buying themselves a hot tub to running a popular garden hire business - while battling Covid

The business has been booked out for months as hot tubs have grown in popularity during the pandemic

Friday, 26th March 2021, 7:00 am

A Northampton couple have gone from jobs in completely different fields to running a popular garden hire business in the space of a year - all while battling Covid-19.

Garreth Morgan, who is now 31, started suffering from Covid-19 symptoms this time last year, which meant he was initially unable to work as a lift engineer for around a month.

At the same time, Wendy Hulme, Garreth’s girlfriend, left her job as a project manager in Swindon to move in with Garreth in Northampton.

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The hot tubs and igloos have been popular even through winter. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

As the summer came around, the couple were unable to get away on holiday so they decided to buy a hot tub for themselves.

The purchase was more expensive than Garreth and Wendy expected due to the increase in popularity in hot tubs during the pandemic, so the duo started thinking about hiring out the hot tub to recoup some of the money they spent.

After a few ‘dry runs’ with friends, the couple created a company called Bubshire and started officially hiring out the hot tub.

Later in the year, Garreth was diagnosed with long Covid, was ‘living like a 75-year-old’, was unable to work and was struggling with the simplest of tasks, so the pair relied on Wendy running the business to keep household income.

As well as hot tubs, the company has now expanded to hiring igloos. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

Now Garreth is at around ‘80 percent’ of his normal health and fitness level the business, which has expanded to include ten hot tubs, is both his and Wendy’s full time jobs.

Thirty-three-year-old Wendy said: “The pandemic hit just after I left my job and those sorts of jobs are the first to go so I had to get creative with making an income.

“We couldn’t go on holiday so we ordered a hot tub and the business had clearly gone bananas as it was a lot more expensive than we thought it would be, so we wanted to recoup some of the money we had spent.

“We did some dry runs with friends and then set up a Facebook page. Before we knew it we were booked out a month in advance, so we decided we needed to get a couple more tubs.

Garreth Morgan and Wendy Hulme (to the left of the car) set up Bubshire during the pandemic. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

“It’s a ready made business and it has grown from there really.

“We have been fully booked most months, even through the winter.”

During the time the business was growing, Garreth was unable to work for a long period of time due to suffering with long Covid, so Wendy says she was ‘throwing everything into the company, while getting Garreth back to health’.

By last month, Garreth’s symptoms had eased and he was able to get back to working for the business, with Wendy.

As well as the ten hot tubs - of which they only hire eight out at a time so they always have back ups - the company also now hires out two igloos, with three more on the way and employs four people to help with deliveries.

Due to the expansion and the couple moving to a house without a garage, they have also had to take on a storage unit in Old, close to where they now live in Walgrave.

Just a year on from the huge change in lifestyle and from launching a new business, the couple is now looking forward to what the future holds, as well as reflecting on the journey they have been on.

Garreth said: “It has been overwhelming at times, especially with Covid. I didn’t know how bad it was but I spent a lot of time feeling like I was concussed.

“I was unable to work so if it wasn’t for Wendy and her hard work, I would have been screwed as we both fell through the gaps for Government support.”

Wendy continued: “It is crazy how things have come about.

“We can plan as much as we can in this crazy world, but you have to go with what happens.

“There have been moments that have been overwhelming but it must show now that we are smiley.

“There is a sense of pride there too and surprise that we are so busy.

“Now we want to keep the momentum going, which I think we will be able to do as people have invested more money in their homes and gardens than ever before and they will want to continue to maximise what they have already spent.”

Looking ahead, Garreth and Wendy are looking into connecting with manufacturers so they can move into selling hot tubs as well, as many customers hire to see if they like it and then ask if they can buy from Bubshire.

They are also hoping to expand to corporate events later in the year when restrictions are lifted.

Search ‘Bubshire’ to find out more.

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