Paul Hargreaves: We are now retailers too!
So, the week has arrived at last when I become a retailer as well as a wholesaler. What a journey it has been. It is over two years since my first meeting about the Flourish project with many setbacks and disappointments along the way, but this Thursday we will open our doors for the first time – and those doors remain open every day for 7 days a week. So that is the first big difference between retail and wholesale, which is essentially a Monday-Friday business. What else have I learned along the way or expect to learn once we are open?
First and foremost, I have learned that if the vision of a company is clearly articulated about being a business that puts people and planet ahead of profit, we attract the best people. I have been blown away by the quality and passion that we have recruited for the new business, 39 in total. These days most good people want to work for a business with purpose that is making a positive difference in the world.
Second, I have learned that our industry still has a long way to go in terms of being the absolute best for the planet. The original plan was to be completely plastic-free. This has proved impossible whilst retaining a wide selection of products in store – around 1,500 of our own products plus many local fresh products. The producers in the industry need to make faster progress in reducing and eliminating plastic. However, our largely young team (I feel like a grandad some days) will drive us forward in this area.
Third I have learned that anything can be achieved if we set our minds to it. The dream of this foodhall and kitchen was a seemingly impossible one a few years ago, but if we stick to our dreams and collaborate well with others and keep focused on the future anything can be achieved for those that desire it enough. For those who are feeling like giving up at present, take heart!
Fourth I have learned that not everyone enjoys our business success. There is a majority of goodwill towards this project, and many have been very encouraging, but there are some who never seem able to rejoice in other’s successes. It has taken me a while to learn that I am only called to do what I am meant to be doing, so stopped being jealous about other’s achievements a while ago. If that is still you, please learn that other people’s business successes are not a threat to you – follow your own dreams.
We look forward to welcoming you to Flourish once we are open on 24th June and I would be more than happy to show anyone around. Find your way to flourish!