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Farmer Copley's Shop

 

Robert & Heather Copley. Farmer Copley's Shop, Purston

Background

Farmer Copley’s Farm Shop was opened by husband and wife team, Heather and Robert Copley, in 2003 to provide a diversified income that allowed their family to continue with the family farm. The business idea was born when Heather and Robert realised they were continually unable to source locally produced quality foods and that if members of the farming community like themselves were finding it difficult, how hard must it be for members of the public. The business has been a huge success and gradually expanded over the first 5 years until full capacity was reached and they realised they needed to extend their premises.

About the funding

Yorkshire Forward were able to support the £200,000 development with grant investment of nearly £80,000, from the Rural Enterprise Investment Programme (REIP). The opening of the extension to the Pontefract farm shop has provided a bright outlook for the future of a family farm and local economy. The opening of the extension included a new café called Moo, and an expanded butchery counter which enables a greater selection of locally produced products to be sold.

"Without the support we would have had a mucky-carrot-in-a-wooden-box-type farm shop," says Mrs Copley. "The help has enabled us to realise our dream to be one of the country's leading food stores and has also made us one of the larger employers in the area; this in turn supporting local food producers and increasing local employment and training opportunities."

In addition to the extension itself the grant support also enabled the family to install an incinerator which burns the shop’s waste to provide the hot water to the butchery. This saves on fuel costs, and adds to the environmental credentials of the new business.

Results

Since opening in December 08, the business has created 2.5 additional full-time jobs, with further employment planned as the business develops. The main aim of Farmer Copleys is to supply home and locally produced quality food to as many local people as possible. The Copleys commitment to this aim and the success of the Farm Shop shows in the numerous national and local award won including Harvey Nichols Taste Awards 2007, Winner of Speciality Sausage at Yorkshire Federation of Butcher 2007, Winner of Best Farm Shop In Great Britain at Butchers Shop Of The Year Award 2007 and for the second year running Most Innovative Business 2007 Robert and Heather are keen to ensure that the farm has a future for their sons and the Farm Shop enables this bringing in diversified income and providing a market for the farm’s beef.

In their own words

“We could not have got this far without the grant support”, says Heather Copley. “The new project has trebled the size of the shop, making more room for customers and allowing more home produced products to be made and sold. The fruit and vegetable area is far larger and indoors which in our inclement weather has got to be a major bonus. The rustic yet contemporary cafe serves homemade cakes, scones and soups with the most wonderful fresh breads”. There will also be a cookery demonstration area where Heather will do courses and also local producers will be able to demonstrate recipes using their products. “We have set up excellent collaborative relationships with other local suppliers for instance Mr Martin Hare, produces all of the lamb that is sold through the shop, we get only his best lambs and Martin is paid a premium. These relationships will increase in number and size with the increase in shop size as we will be able to literally fit more products in and more customers to increase demand.”

The farm shop is situated on the A645 Pontefract to Featherstone Road and is open seven days a week Mon – Sat 10.00 am until 5.30 pm and Sun 10.00 am until 4.00 pm. More info including internet orders is available at: www.farmercopleys.co.uk

Download a PDF of this case study.

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