The woman running the new Brook Farm Shop in Stoneleigh was not thinking about starting her own business until she saw a sign .
Claire Hartry, who has a masters degree in global journalism, was running a journal for the Association of Applied Biologists in Wellesbourne when she spotted a ‘to let’ board at the farm.
She said: “I hadn’t thought about going into business but I was driving home from work and saw the ‘farm shop for rent’ sign at Brook Farm. It got me thinking. I love food, I love cooking and just thought it was me. I wanted it to be very much about local produce – good quality, organic meats and vegetables. But I had no idea about business plans or how to get it all started so I rang the local council and was put in touch with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.”
Last summer, Claire attended a one-day start-up course in Nuneaton, which was part of a programme supported by the ERDF and local councils, before being assigned business adviser, Margaret Bull, by the chamber.
Margaret helped to hone Claire’s business plan ahead of a pre-Christmas launch.
The Brook Farm Shop opened its doors on December 6 and following strong festive trade has continued to be popular since the turn of the year.
She said: “Margaret was absolutely amazing. She gave me technical advice with regards to my business plan but also kept saying how much she believed in me and the idea.
“That really gave me the inspiration to keep going.”
Claire’s produce – all sourced within 30 miles of the shop – including beef from Ettington and free range eggs from Kenilworth – is now flying off the shelves. She’s already taken on a member of staff and has plans to expand into supplying vegetable boxes to customers in the area.