Success rolls in for gourmet food producers
“We’ve received significant funding support not once, but twice, through the Marches LEP and Marches Growth Hub. We’re now based in a new state-of-the-art food processing facility and investing in new equipment to improve productivity.”
Ivan Watkiss, Managing Director, Coopers Gourmet Food
- New processing facility thanks to £45,000 grant via the Marches LEP
- 5 to 25 staff in 5 years
- Predicted £1.2m turnover in 2017
Ivan and his wife, Sue, started their business out of a deli in Oswestry, producing and selling gourmet sausage rolls. Spotting a gap in the market for locally sourced and produced gourmet food, the family business moved into commercial production in Shrewsbury and now operates from a new facility at Roden with a staff of 25.
Targeting sales of £1.2m this year, the company has expanded its product range from sausage rolls to gourmet Scotch eggs, Scotch eggs without the egg known as Scotty’s, and most recently pork pies. Its customers include regional outlets in the Marches, as well as online retailer Not On The High Street.com, Harrods and Selfridges.
The business challenge
Starting with only two members of staff, the challenge for Coopers has been trying to scale up both production and staffing levels to cope with increased demand. The company moved to a commercial kitchen at the Food Enterprise Centre at Shrewsbury but rising sales meant larger, dedicated premises were required. A new four year growth plan means the company needed also to invest in capital equipment to become more efficient as well as look to develop the next generation of gourmet food creating talent!
How the Marches LEP and Marches Growth Hub helped
In 2014, the Marches LEP awarded Coopers a £45,000 grant from its Redundant Building Grant Scheme, which aimed to bring buildings back into productive economy use. A derelict building in Roden, near Shrewsbury, was transformed into a state-of-the-art food production facility which now employs 25 people.
Business support experts at the Marches Growth Hub Telford & Wrekin directed Coopers to the availability of further grant support through the Business Growth Programme, a £33m fund for SMEs in the region. Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, managed by Birmingham City Council and delivered by The Marches Growth Hub, the BGP awarded Coopers’ a £20,000 grant for new equipment.
Ivan added: “We were helped to secure the £45,000 grant from the LEP for a high spec facility and help with further applications for funding support. We have just written our next four year growth plan and to help us achieve our growth ambitions, the business support team is looking to work with us on a further funding bid and also on our skills requirement.”