Access to Finance – Lois Mansfield

Lois Mansfield had worked in the food industry from a young age, and had always had a passion for all things edible and quaffable. But it wasn’t until she got involved in the behind-the-scenes of running of an independent food hall that she discovered the fun, challenge and creativity involved in retailing fine food. Realising that you don’t always get to see your own ideas come to fruition when working as part of a larger management team, there was only one answer – to work for herself!

Sarah Bradshaw worked in the hospitality trade for most of her working life, most recently in establishments highlighting the importance of high quality food and awareness of its provenance. It was only when she started working in a local food hall that she had the idea to launch her own – if on a slightly less grand scale! As a resident of Woodbridge in Suffolk for 6 years, Sarah could see a definite and desired gap on the high-street for such a business, and the plan started to fall into place.

Due to launch in May 2014, Green Olive deli will bring a new level of speciality food to Woodbridge, catering for the everyday shopper who might wish to avoid the retail giants. To achieve this, Lois and Sarah will be committed to going the extra mile when sourcing suppliers and products. They say “there is always, always something new and fantastic waiting to be found,” and with a sensible approach to stock selection they will be providing products at different pricing levels to cater for both the ‘everyday’ and ‘speciality’ shopper. They believe that buying food is becoming a more personal experience, where the consumer not only wants to know exactly where a product has come from, but also wants an all-seeing, almost hands-on experience in the shop where they can “talk food” with the seller. This is what they are looking to achieve.

Lois and Sarah approached NatWest for finance to help with the start-up costs of the business – everything from renovation to Reblochon, security systems to scrubbing brushes. They discovered there is a surprising amount to consider when building something from scratch, and said “until you sit down and list every single thing you need for every single process, there’s a lot you will take for granted. Quite simply, without the support from NatWest our dream would never have had a chance of becoming a reality.”

Having always had her personal accounts with NatWest, Sarah thought highly of their customer service over the years, and NatWest were also recommended by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce for start-up businesses.

She said: “What cemented the decision is how you’re treated once you actually start the process of applying for finance at NatWest. You get to talk and meet with encouraging and knowledgeable members of the Business Management Team, and once your application goes in you work one-to-one with a dedicated person. It’s straight-forward and, most importantly, reassuring working alongside a relatable and friendly human being!”

 

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