We, like most other businesses, are always looking to grow and expand our business in terms of our offering and size. Cotswold Fayre was set up 18 years ago by our Chief Exec Paul Hargreaves from his cellar as a distribution hub for a few small producers in the Cotswolds.
Now, we have grown from one to 24 in the team, listing 3,000 products rather than fifty. The aim of the business, to provide a single supported route to independent retailers for our suppliers, still holds true today. And with nearly 2,000 customers and 300 suppliers, it seems to be working.
But Paul and the team here don’t want the growth to come at the cost of their founding principles to be an ethical and responsible distributor.
In 2015, we 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.
Working with the B Corp community, we are constantly seeking out ways to introduce new sustainability initiatives such as encouraging retailers to consolidate the number of deliveries. This not only saves retailers time and money when ordering and sorting, but also reduces their carbon footprint by having fewer vans on the roads and using less fuel to deliver.
Using fewer routes to market can have a massive impact financially, logistically and environmentally. To support this, we will always price-match the same products that the retailer may be buying from elsewhere.
We also want to encourage our customers, suppliers and any new start-ups entering the speciality food world to think about sustainability. This year, we are supporting Speciality Food’s New Producer Awards and sponsoring the Sustainable Business category. Paul Hargreaves is on the judging panel and will be helping to choose an overall winner at the Bread & Jam Festival on 6th October.
Growing has allowed us to have the opportunity to give back overseas, but in a sustainable way, which we have been able to do with Bala Children’s Centre in Kenya.
Since 2010, we have been very privileged to work with the orphanage, which is dedicated to changing the lives of young children who have nowhere to go and are in desperate need of help and support. We have been working with the orphanage to make them more self-sufficient. Members of the Cotswold Fayre team and even suppliers take regular trips over and have been working on a number of agricultural projects to help generate some income and cover the needs of the children as well as give the centre a more sustainable future.
Among the projects to date is the building and set up of a dairy and agricultural farm, bore hole, water tower and pumping station. We have seen the centre come on leaps and bounds in the last seven years and are pleased to see them becoming less reliant on funding and the farm becoming increasingly productive and profitable.