Former green beret leads growth at green grocers
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A former Royal Marine Commando who bought a local greengrocer’s shop three years ago, is bucking the trend on the high street, after significantly expanding and modernising the business.
The firm which was formerly Earnshaws of Horbury and now trades as The Green Berry – a nod to owner Simon Fishwick’s military career which included time in the Royal Marines – has quadrupled turnover since 2017 and will double the size of its team this year as it looks to further develops a major online offering championing Yorkshire’s finest independent artisan businesses.
The growth comes off the back of a successful year which saw the business serve more than 50,000 customers in the past 10 months, as well as launching a free delivery service throughout the Wakefield area.
Fishwick has also been joined by Neil Hargill, who comes from a retail background with online experience. Since joining the business in 2020 Hargill has spearheaded the launch of an e-commerce website offering next day delivery nationwide on approximately 1,000 products from local independent businesses and farmers.
The Green Berry now employs a team of six which it will double in size as it expands into new warehouse premises later this summer that will support the growth of the online side of the business.
Fishwick explained: “Working in Iraq was extremely dangerous, and I lost a lot of friends there. The challenging environment in which we operated was also strangely exciting and I found myself craving a return to the action. I knew if I was going have real purpose in civvy street, I needed to find an anchor, which is what brought me back to my hometown of Wakefield. When I saw the local greengrocer was for sale, I dived straight in.
“It’s been a very steep learning curve. I haven’t had a day off since 2019 and regularly work more than 100 hours a week, and even delivered on Christmas Day, but I’ve loved every minute of it and the feedback we receive from the local community is fantastic.
“I run it like a military operation and although our price points are a little higher than the supermarkets, our products are much better quality and fresher, as well as coming in eco-friendly packaging wherever possible.
“When the pandemic hit, we started offering boxes that contained a week’s supply of bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruit and salad, for £25. We posted about it on social media and were immediately selling, packing and delivering 80 every day in the local area, which showed us the potential to expand online, and Neil’s expertise has helped make this scalable.”
Hargill added: “Following the success of the isolation boxes, we’ve quickly established an online presence, and this will be a key part of our future growth. Our ethos is about offering customers all types of exceptional products that you don’t typically find in supermarkets, that are all produced to a very high standard by independent Yorkshire businesses.”