[S]TAFF working for some of Cumbria’s most iconic family businesses came face to face for the first time this week when Grasmere Gingerbread® organised a day-long working tour of its local suppliers.
These included the Penrith Toffee Shop, Kennedys Fine Chocolates, Moorland Candles, Farrer’s Tea & Coffee Merchants, Country Flavour Fudge, Pure Lakes and Runkels Crafts.
“We sell their products so I wanted our staff to understand the provenance and to meet the highly-skilled people behind them,” explained Joanne Hunter, co-owner of Grasmere Gingerbread®.
The business-to-business familiarisation visit drew enthusiastic responses from Grasmere Gingerbread® staff.
Barry Allison, General Assistant, said it was “awesome to meet our amazing producers and put faces to names” whilst Emil Barna, General Assistant, said he saw “parts of Cumbria I’ve never seen before”.
Grasmere Gingerbread® prides itself on promoting its suppliers via features on its website.
On a dedicated page entitled ‘Working Together’ every business is featured with hyperlinks to their own websites.
“Cumbrian businesses need to work together and support each other, partly because of our remote geography and partly because it leads to all sorts of amazing collaborations,” added Joanne.
After initialling producing a ginger and orange hand cream in 2010 for Grasmere Gingerbread®, Staveley-based Pure Lakes now supplies an extended range including hand wash, body lotion and lip balm.
The business tour drew praise from suppliers.
Neil Boustead, owner of the Penrith Toffee Shop was delighted to welcome “such a nice bunch of people” while Kirkoswald-based Barbara Runkle was “thrilled at the interest shown in what I do”.
Shirleyann Gledhill, Sales Administrator at Grasmere Gingerbread® was one of nine members of staff to join the away day.
“I am office-based but as I deal directly with our customers over the telephone it’s important that I have intimate knowledge of all the products to guide them through their purchases,” she explained.
“This was a fantastic day out for me. I was bowled over by the passion and dedication of all our suppliers and their enthusiasm at working with us.
“Joanne has always instilled in us the value of working with other local producers and now I really understand why.”
Joanne hopes to repeat the tour later this year, taking the other remaining members of staff along.
“We received a warm welcome everywhere and it exceeded my expectations,” she added.