Amanda Stansfield is founder of Granny Gothards, a manufacturer and distributor of artisan ice cream in the UK and around the world. Since being founded on…
In the latest episode of our Business Noodles & Doodles podcast, Mark Greaves talks to Steve Oxford, managing director and fourth-generation baker at Oxford’s Bakery, an artisan bakery group based in Dorset.
Steve talks about:
- The ‘family’ in family business
- How they responded in the pandemic
- The changing high street
- Smaller independents and paying more
Watch the trailer
Being a family business
“I say it all the time that we’re a family business. The most important word in that is ‘family.’ And my greatest achievement is working very, very happily – and I can’t emphasise that enough – with members of my family.
“There have been some tough times, but overcoming those strengthens that bond. It’s that cohesion, that passion that we all share for this very funny, very individual business. And any ‘we’ve got to this many shops, or we’ve done this or we turned over that’ is secondary.”
How Oxford’s Bakery responded to the pandemic
“There are little people like us, little pockets which have remained untouched for decades and are able to plough on through massive adversity and were able to be diverse during that time.
“People were so thankful for us to be able to continue, because we are not restricted by huge red tape and legislation. We are a small and independent business, so we were able to get out and help people in very, very remote areas. For example, we hired taxi drivers to deliver to these people, we started providing what we called emergency packs, which included two loaves of bread, cheese, eggs, and butter, which would last five days. And people were able to rely on us.
“We couldn’t feed a nation at that sort of notice. But we certainly propped up a few people where the system had holes or gaps in it.”
The changing high street
“For the last 15 years you heard ‘Oh, not another cafe, not another restaurant or bar’ but that’s the way it’s going. The high street is a sociable place; it’s an experience. It’s a place to walk and enjoy your surroundings. The fact that you can have a coffee and a cake or stop in one of the nice cafes is a bonus to actually being able to do a bit of shopping as well.”
Smaller independents and paying more
“There’s no such thing as cheap food. That doesn’t exist. Somebody is paying the price for it down the line. Whether it’s yourself by skimming your own farmers so that you end up having to pay more – taxed in a different way – so they have to be subsidised because we weren’t using them in the first place, or whether you are importing it, getting milk really cheap. It’s costing the environment more. You’ll end up paying indirectly.
“Whereas actually, if you just went in the first place to your butchers or your bakers, it works out the same. But that’s what we’re led to believe. I’m afraid a little bakery like mine doesn’t have the marketing power or the prowess to be able to convince a whole nation of that.”
Listen to the full episode
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