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Farmgate Business Builds on Success

Husband and wife team Lara and Brian Runnells of Farmgate Buildings pictured with Business Link personal adviser Alex Nicholas (right)Husband and wife team Lara and Brian Runnells of Farmgate Buildings pictured with Business Link personal adviser Alex Nicholas (right)

Since diversifying into making garden sheds and playhouses in 1992, third generation Cornish farmer Brian Runnells has seen his business double in size every year. The family-run Farmgate Buildings, based at Tregenna Farm, Blisland, five miles from Bodmin, is continuing to expand with help from Business Link Devon and Cornwall. The latest developments involve a new office and rest room for staff and the fitting of a new panel workshop, with racking for timber, to speed up the operation and make it more efficient.

Business Link personal business adviser Alex Nicholas carried out a strategic review for the company, set five-year targets for turnover and staff growth and sourced help with workforce development, health and safety, innovation, marketing and HR issues. He also advised the company on training needs and suppliers including the Construction Industry Training Board which will provide industry-specific training.

Brian Runnells says, "With Business Link continuing to point us in the right direction we're determined to build on our success and to keep on growing."

Always keen on woodworking, he started Farmgate Buildings when he sold his dairy cows and changed to beef and sheep. Today he concentrates on designing, building and manufacturing a full range of quality timber buildings including log cabins, pavilions, studios, garages, stables, summerhouses and playhouses, while a friend rents the farmland and runs it as an organic venture. The timber panels are made in converted cattle barns and taken to site where the wooden buildings are erected and insulated to the highest standards.

"Many of the cabins are built for Cornish holiday parks where they are very popular," said Brian. "Last year we completed a four-bedroom cabin holiday home and there are orders in the pipeline for a restaurant at Polzeath and an eight-bedroom cabin holiday home with four bathrooms."

Meanwhile the firm, which currently has two staff and Brian's wife, Lara, on board as secretary, is about to manufacture timber-framed garages at Totnes and Penzance.

For further information please contact Carolyn Daw at the Marketing-PR Company on 01566 771863 or email:

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business LInk through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).


Editor's notes:

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally It provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA.


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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