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Carlisle Nursery (US) to Open First International Franchise

26 Jan 2018 - A Carlisle nursery is set to open its first franchise - in China.

Stone Eden Nursery School, near Aglionby, will open the international franchise in Guangzhou, a sprawling port city north-west of Hong Kong.

The city features avant-garde architecture such as Zaha Hadidís Guangzhou Opera House - known as the double pebble - where the nursery will be based.

David and Jenn Farrell opened Stone Eden in 2005 with 36 children. It now has about 350 children on its register.

The Chinese franchise will be run by Dana Lu and her partner Richard.

It will have the Stone Eden name and give Dana and Richard the chance to replicate the Carlisle nursery's success and copy its blueprint.

Mr and Mrs Farrell's daughter Hannah is the nursery's franchise director.

She said: "We have been advertising for about a year now and we've had about 200 enquiries.

"Ironically our first one is an international franchise which is very exciting.

"There is real demand for British early years education and curriculum in China.

"We've also had enquiries from Bangladesh and Dubai."

The deal was finalised before Christmas and Dana and Richard are currently in Guangzhou - which has a population of more than 14m - getting the building ready.

Hannah added: "The nursery will be based on the third floor of the Opera House.

"We hope it will open in April or May time.

"It has space for about 120 children.

"Dana and Richard have been to see Stone Eden about three or four times and we met them again in Manchester this week.

"Dana is Chinese but has lived in England for a long time. They run a lighting business in London.

"They've got a young son and saw a gap in the market."

The nursery will be managed by Ruth Evans, who is originally from Lancashire but currently working in Carlisle.

It is still recruiting for other jobs with flights and accommodation paid for.

"It's a great opportunity," said Hannah, who will spend a month in Guangzhou when it opens.

"Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it's all moving so fast."

Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China.

For the three consecutive years 2013 to 2015, American business magazine Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.