Britons in Latvia: from concerns about Brexit effects to hopes that customers will focus on quality rather than price

  • 2017-12-28
  • Philip Houseley

The Baltic Times spoke to a couple of British national living and/or running business in Latvia. How their year of 2017 has been? What impediments have they encountered? What has brightened their mood?

Martyn Moon, Director, Royal Bathrooms… says that 2017 was very challenging, with uncertainty over the effects of Brexit plus a downturn in foreign investment in the property market, a sector that’s proved to be important for the company in the past.

“We’re optimistic about the prospects for 2018, although we think we’ll all have to work harder for less revenue. In fact, we’ve made considerable investments for next year. We’ve expanded our product range to cover general interiors, and have opened a new showroom on the edge of Riga’s Old Town at Miesnieku Iela,” he said. Mr Moon believes that once the Brexit situation becomes clearer, the company can begin to make plans for the future.

“Our main problem is securing the services of professional sales staff. Yes, there are the normal bureaucratic problems that you face everywhere, but these are things you can factor in and work with,” he emphasised.

Adele Stanford, Head Teacher, British School in Riga… told us that she was among the staff members who opened the school back in August.

“We’ve had a very successful first term. We anticipated 55 children, but we have 80. We have had a lot of interest in the school and very positive press coverage. Social media has been a great support in spreading our message and we have many families engaging with us daily,” Ms. Stanford went on to tell us is happy about the school’s close working relationship with The British Chamber of Commerce. 

“I believe the prospects for 2018 are good to very good. We’re about to start our marketing for school places from August 2018 and we have full classes in several year groups already. We hope to better understand the Latvian ways and the cultural differences of doing business here. We’ve formed a school board of people who have very close links with the UK and Latvia, and understand the political and social situation in Latvia,” the Brit continued.

Douglas Balchin, Director, Zebra International Removers, …says that 2017 has generally been “acceptable” for the company.“We’re still trying to get rates back tothe pre-crisis levels, but it’s difficult. Our prospects for 2018 are similar to those of 2017, although we’re hopeful that customers will focus on quality rather than price”.

Rolands Papedis, Director, Pryor Contracts (Construction &Real Estate)… told The Baltic Times that business had been pretty good in 2017. 

“We bought some new technical units and moved towards several future perspectives. We anticipate that next year will be better than the last. We’re waiting for new tenders at Ventspils Hill and we’ll try to get some new road projects”