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The fine food wholesaler was set up 18 years ago by Paul Hargreaves from his cellar as a distribution hub for a few small producers in the Cotswolds.
Now, the company has grown from one to 24 in the team, listing 3,000 products rather than 50. Cotswold Fayre’s aim, to provide a single supported route to independent retailers for its suppliers, still holds true today. And with nearly 2,000 customers and 300 suppliers, it’s working.
The company works hard to ensure its growth does not come at the cost of its founding principles: to be an ethical and responsible distributor.
In 2015, the fine food distributor celebrated becoming a B Corporation which recognises businesses which are using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, and so change the world.
Paul Hargreaves, chief executive at Cotswold Fayre said, “Now more than ever there is a need for consolidation in the speciality food sector as the number of brands continues to grow. We constantly seek out ways to introduce new sustainability initiatives such as encouraging retailers to consolidate the number of deliveries. Not only does this save them time and money when ordering and sorting, but also reduces their carbon footprint by taking vehicles off the road.
“Using fewer routes to market can have a massive impact financially, logistically and perhaps most importantly environmentally. To support this, we will always price-match the same products that the retailer may be buying from elsewhere.”
Since becoming a Cotswold Fayre customer in 2012, Three Trees Farm Shop and Cafe has reaped the benefits of using its consolidation service. The Wiltshire-based farm shop, located just outside the village of Chiseldon, is stocked with high quality, local products.
Beth McMurray, owner said, “When we first opened the shop we were a bit clueless and bought direct from a lot of producers, but this meant we had to do a ridiculous amount of ordering and order a lot to meet the minimum order values. When we discovered Cotswold Fayre and saw that they listed a lot of the producers we were using this eradicated the problem completely.
“Cotswold Fayre always has a great range of products at a good price and makes an effort to find new suppliers, meaning its offering always has something fresh and new for my customers. While this is great, what really sets Cotswold Fayre apart from other wholesalers though is the level of personal service that they provide.”
With its growth, Cotswold Fayre has also been able to give back overseas, but in a sustainable way. Since 2010, the company has been working with Bala Children’s Centre in Kenya. The orphanage is dedicated to changing the lives of young children who have nowhere to go and are in desperate need of help and support. Cotswold Fayre has been working on a number of agricultural projects, including building a farm, to help generate some income and cover the needs of the children as well as giving the centre a more sustainable future.
The fine food distributor wants to encourage other businesses to focus on sustainability, including its suppliers, customers and new start-ups entering the sector. This year, Cotswold Fayre is sponsoring the Sustainable Business category of our New Producer Awards. Paul Hargreaves is on the judging panel and will be helping to choose an overall winner at the Bread & Jam Festival on 6th October 2017.
Paul continues, “There is a lot of work to do within the speciality food world in developing more sustainable business, and we want to support any producers developing within this area.”
To find out more or to download Cotswold Fayre’s latest catalogue visit cotswold-fayre.co.uk