Revealed: Winners of the Cotswold Life Business & Professional Family Business Awards 2018
PUBLISHED: 15:03 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:03 16 October 2018
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From food and farming champions to expert retailers, design houses to haulage companies, the old guard to the new kids on the block, we are lucky to count them among our numbers and applaud the contribution they make to the Cotswolds’ business landscape
Congratulations to our worthy winners...
Best Start-Up Family Business: Burning Barn, Eastcote, Warwickshire
Katherine and Harry Jenner launched Burning Barn rum in September 2017 after watching their family fruit farm barn burn to the ground in a devastating fire.
Forged from the fire and smoke of that fateful day in 2015 came Burning Barn Rum.
Now they market two rums, both inspired by the fire which was, ironically, fuelled by sugar.
Spiced Rum has real heat in it, blended with roasted ginger, bird’s eye chillies, dark molasses, toasted coconut, allspice and vanilla.
Their Smoked Rum, smoked with apple wood, is redolent of the smouldering embers of the fruit farm and burnt caramel.
Rum fans Katherine and Harry had become frustrated with the same old brands on bar shelves and saw a gap in the market for artisan rum.
Following the devastating fire, they decided to tap into the booming market - last year it achieved sales of £1m, just behind gin.
And so they moved in with their parents for six months and self-funded the project.
Now, less than a year later, Burning Barn Rum is stocked by retailers across the UK, including on Amazon and in Harvey Nichols.
Family Business Apprentice: Ollie Gibson, Relish Catering Ltd, Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Catering company Relish took on 19-year-old Ollie just 15 months ago as an apprentice - one of many at the Cirencester company.
He started as an accounts assistant and quickly made the job his own, joining as a Level 3 apprentice rather than the usual Level 2 because of his ability.
Bosses say his aptitude for accountancy and finance is only surpassed by by his extraordinary insight into business, systems and provision of money-can’t-buy information.
He has obvious, self-attained knowledge and skills, which warranted his advanced level start.
Suffering from High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s, Ollie is now an integral part of the company which hosts prestigious accounts including the Game Fair, Royal International Air Tattoo and the Royal Three Counties Show.
A true asset to the 10-year-old firm, started by John and Philippa Sawyer, this exceptional young man is one of 600 youngsters employed by Relish.
The company has doubled its turnover to £5 in the past 18 months and tripled its permanent staff to 120.
Food & Farming Excellence: Toad’s Mill, Callow End, Worcestershire
Toad’s Mill is an arable farming and food business launched in 2016 by husband and wife Toby and Lydia Whatley.
Passionate about the future of British farming and against the advice of almost everyone in the industry who said it couldn’t be done, they initially took over eight acres of the family farm to grow spelt.
Now they’re on their second harvest and their Light White flour has just won a Great Taste Award.
Stoneground at a water mill in Dorset, the flour is sold through exceptional farm shops and to artisan bakeries and celebrity bakers including Richard Bertinet.
With provenance as a priority, each bag is marked with the name of the field from which the spelt was harvested.
This summer, Toby and Lydia launched Toad’s Mill Kitchen, a spin-off business which turns their award-winning flour into sublime stone-baked pizzas.
In a converted horsebox, fitted with a wood-fired oven, they cook their homegrown pizzas at events, weddings and food festivals across the region. Pizzas are evocatively named after fields on the family farm and they are topped with ingredients sourced from brilliant local producers.
Toby and Lydia also host pop-up Village Pizza Nights at venues across the area, taking the Toad’s Mill Kitchen horse box into the heart of communities, spreading the message about excellence in British farming, provenance and sustainability.
It’s a true field-to-fork operation.
Retail Excellence: Fillet & Bone, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
Fillet & Bone is a dazzling Cotswold food emporium launched in 2017 in a centuries’ old butchers’ shop in Chipping Campden.
This little slice of foodie heaven owned by Chris Gates and partner Pat Willins sources the finest, seasonal food and drink from the best producers across the region and beyond.
With a passion for seasonality and quality, Fillet & Bone has responsibly-farmed meat and game at its heart, and has its own flock of turkeys and a herd of Dexter cattle.
But it also sells seasonal fruit and vegetables grown four miles from the shop; cheeses and charcuterie from local producers; wines and spirits from nearby vineyards and distillers; craft ales from surrounding breweries and an incredible array of deli goods.
Ben, the butcher, has developed an ever-changing selection of handmade, additive-free sausages and burgers and a partnership has been forged with neighbouring restaurant Huxley’s, which turns Ben’s sausages into delicious Italian dishes.
Sustainable fish is delivered from Cornwall four times a week.
It has launched its own wines - Slaughterhouse Red and Bone Dry White, a nod to the property’s historic abattoir - as well as an ever-expanding range of own-label preserves and dry goods.
A series of seasonal recipe cards has been developed thanks to a partnership with Cotswold Cookery School and the team bakes pastries on-site at the weekends and makes freshly-squeezed orange juice in recycled bottles.
As part of the ongoing development of the shop, planning permission has been granted for an on-site butchery cold store and sausage-making facility - which will be used for courses - and to turn the abattoir into a restaurant serving the finest locally-sourced food and drink.
Next Generation Family Achiever: The Cullimore Group, Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Third generation aggregate company The Cullimore Group is headed up by Managing Director Moreton F Cullimore, grandson of the founder.
The firm celebrated its 90th birthday last year and Moreton is steering it through the 21st century with a fleet of new trucks backed by a £1.9m funding package from Lloyds Bank.
To support the development of a new quarry near Marston Meysey, seven additional trucks costing £750,000 are now on the road, taking the fleet to more than 80 vehicles.
Moreton praised the bank for its support, the finance package allowing the firm to purchase the vehicles on HP, rather than impacting on cashflow.
And in return, the bank said Moreton’s “creative thinking” was the key to future growth, which includes embracing new practices, standards and technologies while respecting the past.
In addition to the new trucks, Moreton is developing new ways of repurposing spent quarries, including turning a former site near Ashton Keynes into one of the UK’s leading wakeboarding centres.
The group, founded in 1927 by Moreton C Cullimore, has been groundbreaking from the start. It introduced motorised transport to the farming community, carrying milk, produce and livestock from his farm to market. The company now employs 100 full-time staff and turns over £18m.
Fastest-Growing Family Business: Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Following a £33m private equity investment in Kingsbridge in 2016, the firm has gone from strength to strength in an ever-changing market.
Driven by a strong family core comprising brothers Thomas Wynne and James Ledingham, following on from founder Steve Wynne, and a number of close family friends, it now boasts 80 staff, a £30m GWP and a £12m annual turnover.
With 40,00 customers, the company has almost doubled in size since 2015 and is a Top 50 broker, specialising in insurance for contractors, freelancers and the self-employed.
It operates a formidably efficient six-day-a-week service, offering a complete partnership programme to support recruitment companies and accountancy firms, protecting their contractor candidates from the main exposures associated with running a limited company.
It is continually expanding its suite of products and tapping into new markets to continue its growth, and has recently promoted a number of younger staff to directorial roles, setting the stage for the next generation to continue to build relationships.
This, it says, will ensure the business continues to grow rapidly while keeping family at its core.
Family Business Exporter: SLG, Cheltenham
Impressive turnover, global reach and super-fast growth are the hallmarks of SLG in Cheltenham.
It produces brands including COLAB and Johnny’s Chop Shop - inspired by the rise in millennial men’s grooming - as well as its licensed brands Zoella, Superdry, Skinnydip, LMX by Little Mix and many more. The family-owned company, which was founded in 1985 by Graham Dunkley, now ships to 38 countries from its UK warehouse.
Johnny’s Chop Shop alone has a presence in 12 countries and is about to roll out to 3,500 Wallmart stores in the USA.
Its in-house team designs, develops and markets all of its brands across cosmetics, bath and body, haircare, fragrance and lifestyle categories.
Undeterred by an initial sales hit following the Brexit referendum, export sales in 2017 soared to £5m, up 100% on the previous year and turnover hit £38m for the first time. The business has doubled in size every five years for the past 20.
Projected turnover is expected to soar to £75m by 2023.
In addition, a wholly-owned SLG company has been launched in Shanghai, China, which employs nine staff.
Outstanding Contribution to the Local or National Economy: Gloucester Services, Gloucester
Gloucester Services, owned by the family-owned Westmorland Motorway Services group, has become a destination for visitors from all over the region.
Much more than a motorway service station, this little slice of foodie and lifestyle heaven provides the opportunity for smaller brands to come together under one roof.
It is a celebration of UK produce which has opened up a world of opportunities for artisan farmers, growers and craftsmen.
Forty years on from the launch of Westmorland’s original Tebay Services in Cumbria - a groundbreaking 30-seater cafe serving locally-sourced, home-cooked food which has grown into a dazzling food emporium - the north and southbound businesses in Gloucester reflect the fierce pride the family has in the landscape and its people.
The concept has propelled local producers into the limelight, offering them a new customer base while promoting independent suppliers to the public.
And the family has set up a partnership with the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, to donate a percentage of its sales each year to plough back into the community.
From artisan bread to local cheeses, exceptional meats, pastries and preserves and great coffee, Gloucester Services really has put Gloucester on the map.
Editor’s Choice Award: Robert Welch, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire
Sixty years ago, designer Robert Welch launched in Chipping Campden, a silversmith carrying on a long tradition of artisan craftsmen in the market town.
Back then, orders for its exceptional cutlery were packaged in the attic of the studio shop before being carried down several flights of stairs for dispatch.
The team of four, including Alice and Rupert Welch - Robert’s children - would then take the parcels to the Post Office to be sent out.
Since then, Alice and Rupert have propelled the business forward, helped by an early Millennium order from Pizza Express. It is now the go-to silversmith for global brands including Emirates airlines and Shangri-La Hotels.
It exports to luxury hotels and restaurants in 70 countries and has recently been awarded two coveted Queen’s Awards, one for Enterprise: International Trade in 2016 and last year for Enterprise and Innovation.
Now, the range includes its award-winning Signature Knives as well as utensils, tableware and more than 30 cutlery designs and it has a second shop in Bath.
Sixty years on, Robert Welch’s passion to design beautiful, functional, desirable products is still at the heart of the company’s DNA, ensuring every new product is ‘Designed the Robert Welch way’.
Family business of the year: Printwaste Recycling and Shredding, Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Printwaste is celebrating its 35th birthday - a far cry from the company which started with two men, one van and a baling machine.
Since the early days, the firm has gone from collecting paper recycling from local printers in Gloucester to collecting multiple recyclable materials from clients across the UK.
In addition the team has developed a successful shredding service - both on and off-site - and a Waste-to-Energy service, helping customers achieve zero-to-landfill status. Recently, it has launched Hop & Squeak, eco-friendly animal bedding and the team has soared from brothers Don and Geof Robins to 70 staff, among them nine family members.
The fleet now includes specialist suction vehicles, articulated lorries with walking floor trailers and mobile shredding trucks.
There is a comprehensive education programme, teaching customers why Printwaste does what it does. To that end, it has helped Widden Primary School build an eco-greenhouse out of plastic bottles and is working with special school Alderman Knight as well as offering teenagers work experience placements.
For the past seven years, it has partnered with Cobalt Health to turn old Christmas cards into new ones and is working with CCP for the third year running on its Hamper Scamper Appeal , which sees businesses donating food to those individuals in need.