Cotswold Fayre’s Flourish opens to ‘phenomenal’ start

04 August 2021, 07:41 AM
  • From fine food distributor to retailer, Paul Hargreaves, CEO of Cotswold Fayre, speaks to Speciality Food about his latest venture

Fine food distributor Cotswold Fayre has launched its brand new foodhall and kitchen near Bristol in Saltford, and CEO Paul Hargreaves says the business has got off to a “phenomenal” start. Selling locally sourced produce alongside a broad range of Cotswold Fayre products, the destination shop has seen strong demand from customers since opening its doors in June.

The team has been delighted to exceed expectations in the first weeks of trading. “From day one, we’ve been absolutely rammed,” Paul says. “We actually turned people away for lunch most days.”

Despite opening during the pandemic, the foodhall and restaurant has been around three years in the making. “Having seen the good, the bad and the ugly of retail for the last 20 years, I’ve always fancied having a go. There are some fantastic retailers out there, and I’ve learned quite a bit over the years about what to do and what not to do,” Paul says. “This was so good an opportunity, it would have been crazy to miss it.”

Working alongside managing director Paul Castle, who has years of experience in retail, the Cotswold Fayre team has adapted to the fast-paced and full-on schedule of seven-days-a-week retail and hospitality. The team has also aligned Flourish with its high sustainability standards. The building itself has been installed with solar panels, heat exchange and toilets which are flushed by rainwater, and the shop floor is as free of plastic packaging as is possible. “We were hoping to make it plastic-free completely, but things haven’t moved quite as fast as I would like. It’s not possible yet to do that,” Paul says. “We are trying to be an example to other retailers, and we’re totally happy to admit we’re not perfect by any means, but we will continue to improve in that direction as time goes on.”

Images: Alice Hendy

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