A Life in Food: Introducing Fromage To Yours
Fromage To Yours, a recently opened business based in Ringwood, is described by founder James Healey in three words: Local; Eco; Quality. Here he recounts his story.
“Fromage To Yours started its journey in 2020. After being made redundant following the first wave of Covid-19, I decided now was the time to follow my passion for high-quality food. As a lover of cheese and charcuterie, Fromage To Yours was born.
“We officially opened our doors in January 2021, unsuspectedly into a national lockdown. Our first couple of months were tough. Having a severely reduced footfall, which also impacted our marketing and word of mouth, we were concerned that we would fall before we’d taken off. Gradually, as people found us and word spread and lockdown lifted, things began to improve.
"In our initial research, we found a wealth of fantastic local produce. Sourcing 90% of our produce from Hampshire and Dorset, we are proud to champion local producers, respecting the care and passion that goes into production. Also, with our producers being so close by, we reduce our carbon footprint, resonating with our strong eco-friendly ethos. Recently we were awarded the plastic free award by the Ringwood RACE group.
“Fromage To Yours is an Eco Deli Café, serving our produce over the counter like a deli and in our café menu. Our signature product are our platters - cheese, charcuterie, savoury biscuits, and pickles and chutneys by local producers built into beautifully presented platters. These include small personal platters, party platters and table banquets, allowing people to choose platters suitable for a quiet night in or a big party.
“We have recently expanded our menu to include some gluten-free (GF) options. Working with local bakers has the advantage of customisation. We have some delicious GF cheese scones to go alongside the non-GF counterparts. We also make our entire panini range with a GF option.
“Currently, we are working on developing our events catering. We have catered three corporate events and, very recently, one wedding - which was a resounding success.
“Community is really important to me, as is the environment. Our coffee is part of a closed loop supply model. The Eco Coffee company supply a delicious blend of coffee - the New Forest blend. When they deliver, they also collect our waste grounds which are used as fuel to roast the next batch. Any excess grounds are compressed into logs to sell as log burner fuel. As a company policy, we source at least 50% of our energy from renewable sources. Currently 70% of our energy is renewable. We also use no plastic in our packaging, opting for recyclable and biodegradable options.
“We’ve slightly broken the mould from the concept of a traditional deli. All of our cold produce is kept in closed fronted fridges to reduce demand on energy. Open fronted chillers are very energy inefficient. Customers do get confused when they walk in, but we are careful to explain that customers can view and sample any produce at their request.
“Community has been such a valuable part of owning a business. The people of Ringwood have been so welcoming and friendly. I really cannot thank them enough for their support, from a friendly good morning through to a conscientious decision to shop local."
Any tips for another business owner starting out?
One "Retain a contingency, you never know what is round the corner. Make sure you have enough funds to keep the basics running."
Two "Be open to criticism, opinions and the views of others. It’s easy to become blinkered with your own vision. Entertain the perspective of others."
Three "Keep adapting, growing and changing. Your business is never ‘done’."
Find out more about Fromage To Yours HERE