Life’s a beach for a software entrepreneur who has snapped up a landmark business location whose success has been built on sun, sea and sand.
Tom Cram, 48, has dipped his toes into a new enterprise by buying holiday homes situated just yards from South Shields’ stunning mile-long Sandhaven Beach.
He is making the purchase of Sandhaven Beach Chalets - the company which operates the 12 single-storey properties, near the Marsden Rattler pub - a family affair.
His daughter, Carleigh McCleod, 27, a teaching assistant, from Hebburn, will combine the demands of being a mum to two young sons with managing the chalets.
Tom, from Jarrow, co-owner of a Sunderland and Carlisle-based business software solutions firm, plans few changes to the chalets, which were originally built in the 1950s.
The Sea Road business has been sold by Melanie Taylor, wife of the late South Shields pub and record shop entrepreneur, Peter Edmondson.
Mr Edmondson, who died aged 60 in May 2011, opened the town’s first wine bar in the 1980s, and the couple bought the chalets around 25 years ago.
Mr Cram said: “It’s the end of an era for Melanie, but the business is in good hands. It’s a very good little business.
“Buying it is helping me to secure Carleigh’s future and giving her the flexibility to work around looking after her children.
“I’m hoping to increase sales through online, but there is not a massive amount to do to the chalets, they are in good shape.
“I may do some gradual improvements, and might even think about adding a couple of hot tubs.
“They are in a great location, parking is available and they are open all year round – you don’t need great weather to have a lovely time there.
“People can stay any time of the year, and guests were in cooking their Christmas dinners a few weeks ago.
“The chalets are ideal for people with a family who want low-cost self-catering accommodation.”
Self-contained, they each of the chalets have two bedrooms - one is adapted for disabled guests - and feature open plan kitchen and lounge/dining areas.