Staff working for some of Cumbria’s most iconic and popular family businesses came face to face last week, many for the first time, when Grasmere Gingerbread organised a day-long working tour of its local suppliers.
These included the Penrith Toffee Shop, Kennedys Fine Chocolates, Farrer’s Tea & Coffee Merchants and Country Flavour Fudge
“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”.
“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.
The business tour drew praise from suppliers with Neil Boustead, owner of the Penrith Toffee Shop saying he was delighted to welcome “such a nice bunch of people.”
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.
Photo: Grassmere Gingerbread staff at The Penrith Toffee Shop