Paul Hargreaves Sustainable Podcast

Business Giving Back

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Once just a fad, speciality foods are now big business. Both the customer base and the number and variety of suppliers have grown rapidly over the past few decades, and show little sign of slowing down. But the industry’s expansion also poses significant challenges, both environmentally and economically. How can small businesses stay small, and deliver quality products, sustainably? The solution: a socially and environmentally responsible wholesale distributor.

Cotswold Fayre is one such distributor. Active in the UK for over 17 years, Cotswold Fayre has streamlined interactions between local suppliers and small retailers. Their founder and CEO, Paul Hargreaves, has a vision for the business that goes far beyond just turning a profit. Besides helping their nearly 2,000 clients and 350 suppliers conduct business, the company’s side projects support young entrepreneurs in the specialty foods industry as well as a charity in Kenya. Hear about Paul’s experience as a wholesale distributor, and why he thinks there’s more to business than making money.

In this episode:

+ Learn about Cotswold Fayre’s Young Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year award, and its mission to bring more young talent into the industry

+ Paul’s two main pieces of advice for anyone running a sustainable business: get the right people, and go with your gut!

+ The challenges and rewards of working with small suppliers and customers, and how Cotswold Fayre acts as a central hub for high-quality food products

+ Paul describes his ongoing involvement with a charity in Kenya, and how Cotswold Fayre’s support goes to creating capital projects with the eventual goal of self-sufficiency

+ How mass production hurts local business, and why Paul brings ‘community’ into everything that he does

+ Why the right work-life balance is not a balance at all, but an integrated whole; Paul’s thoughts on how jobs can and should be opportunities for creativity and enjoyment

“People want to go to a place where they trust what they’re buying. Obviously they don’t trust the supermarkets on the whole as much as they trust a local, independent retailer. “Paul Hargreaves
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