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22.12.05
Graduate gives food company a makeover

A Cornish quality food supplier that supplies delicatessen style foods wholesale is about to transform its image with a New Year rebrand.

St Ives Food Company, based at Penbeagle Estate, St Ives, was set up about 15 years ago by Tom McWilliams. The company supplies wholesale food including its own sausages and cooked meats as well as Cornish cheeses and olives, to restaurants, hotels and independent supermarkets. It has grown steadily and now has 13 employees. That figure increases to 17 in the summer.

Early in 2005 Mr McWilliams took the decision to employ a marketing expert to help the business expand even more. He took on business and IT graduate Sarah Mungles, from Hayle, through the Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) scheme.

UCP has received Objective One ESF (European Social Fund) investment to place graduates with businesses, subsidise wages and provide an expert mentor for up to 12 months. UCP is part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall initiative and is run by Cornwall College.

"Because we have been kept busy with business growth we have never had time for marketing before," said Mr McWilliams. "But we decided we wanted to become more professional in this respect. This is partly because there are still many restaurants and other food related businesses in Cornwall that don't know we are here on their doorstep and get their delicatessen supplies from companies in Plymouth and Exeter."

Having worked with Sarah, St Ives Food Company has redesigned its logo, used this to give the five company vans a new livery and also had uniforms made for the staff. The new image will be launched early in January.

Alongside this comes more work from Sarah who has been carrying out detailed research into the customer base, building a company portfolio and putting sales systems in place, such as follow up telephone calls to prospective customers.

St Ives Food already supplies many of the restaurants and cafes in St Ives including the Tate, the Seafood Café and Blue Fish. Other customers include Hunky Dory, in Falmouth and the Mount Prospect Hotel, Penzance.

Mr McWilliams said the concentration on marketing should increase business even more. "This is already happening because Sarah has helped us introduce and market a range of our own Christmas sausages which are selling very well."

Sarah, who graduated from the Southampton Institute and temped until she was offered the St Ives Food Company post, added: "I heard about this job through word of mouth and UCP has helped me a lot otherwise I would not still be in Cornwall."

Allyson Glover, UCP spokesperson, said: "Marketing is often not a priority for small businesses and commonly they are not sure how to go about it. The placement of a graduate with specialist mentor support is a great way to kick start business growth."

For further information please contact Clare Morgan of the Objective One communications team on 01872 223439 or email: cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Unlocking Cornish Potential through the European Social Fund (ESF).

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Editor's notes:

 

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

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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