Farm shop bosses share knowledge

A panel of farm shop experts gave visitors their top tips for running a successful business in a special talk at the Farm Shop & Deli show in Birmingham earlier this week.

The Talk Shop event was hosted by the FARMA co-op, and featured speakers from Welbeck Farm Shop in Nottinghamshire, Blacker Hall in Yorkshire, Kilnford Barns near Dumfires and the Pink Pig Farm Shop near Scunthorpe.

The panel covered a number of topics, including staffing, products, and attracting customers, before telling visitors what they considered vital points when setting up a farm shop.

First up, Edward Garthwaite from Blacker Hall said: Dont forget what youve achieved on the way. Whatever stage youre at, even if youre just about to open the door, youve made a tremendous journey, far further than most people will ever do. You will be constantly in touch with people coming to tell you how you should be doing your job. The fact that theyve come to see you is because youre doing your job well, and dont forget that.

Next, Sally Jackson from the Pink Pig emphasised that it was important not to try and do everything yourself: There are people out there who do things much better than you so use them as well. Find out who your local producers are as well and really use them rather than trying to DIY.

Katy Fenwick from the Welbeck Farm Shop said it was vital to develop a vision and to adhere to it: Get a mission statement, whatever tacky phrase you want to call it, and get it right, and stick to it, because that will guide every decision you need to make; come back to that original idea and that will inform your decisions.

Finally, Maurice Mcmenemy of Kilnford told farm shop owners not to be afraid to borrow ideas from their peers: Some of the best ideas are stolen ideas. We spent lots of time looking at every farm shop available to look at before we opened and we think we picked the best of it and put it under one roof. Go out and look at as many businesses as you can.

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