Hampshire grows the harvest
Six months ago Hampshire became home to Harvest Fine Foods, a privately owned regional wholesaler of fresh fruit and vegetables, dry ambient, frozen and chilled foods. The second generation family business made a strategic move from Christchurch to the centre of its distribution area of Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and West Sussex.
Managing Director, Richard Strongman explains: “In the last three years the greatest growth in our business has been in Hampshire. We supply state and private schools, NHS hospital trusts, hotels, pubs, restaurants and outside caterers. The move to Hampshire has allowed us to accept new business that we had been having to turn away due to reaching maximum capacity in our old premises.”
Harvest Fine Foods invested £1.25 million in the move and getting the new site ready for service. The company also received a Bridging the Gap Grant from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership facilitated by Hampshire County Council’s Economic Development team. The company’s own investment and the grant have ensured that the new 24-hour facility is fit for purpose with new refrigeration, doors and delivery bays. The new facility more than doubles the size of the premises which has allowed the company to already increase their number of employees from 100 to 130 and has added £3.5 million growth this financial year. The company projects an annual growth of in excess of £30 million over the next 5 years.
Richard said: “The key benefit of our new premises is the proximity to the main arterial routes in Hampshire and our key transport area. Service, quality and integrity are key to our operation. We pride ourselves on understanding the needs of our customers and the challenges they face in trying to be successful, we see it as our role to help provide a solution to those challenges.”
One area the company aims to help is through the delivery of local Hampshire products. Harvest Fine Foods is a strategic partner of Hampshire Fare the local food group and works closely with its members to offer routes to market and back-hauling local produce. On Tuesday 4th October Hampshire Fare farmers, producers and chefs gathered at the new Harvest Fine Foods premises for the local food group’s monthly network.
The group was given a behind the scenes tour of the premises to understand the logistics behind the 24-hour operation. The event was an opportunity for people involved in all stages of the local food chain to meet and informally discuss ideas and business.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Economic Development at Hampshire County Council, commented: “Supporting high growth, high quality businesses is a key priority for the County Council, and Harvest Fine Foods is a prime example. Richard ensures that Harvest Fine Foods demonstrates a truly customer orientated culture and we wish him and the company every success in the future.”
The future looks promising for Harvest Fine Foods and its employees. Richard Strongman remains grounded and it is clear that the business’ success is built on strong foundations and considered visions. The values instilled from its beginnings as a small family company remain at the core as Richard concludes: “We want to be a big small company not a small big company.”
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