Hitting the road – the East Anglian leg of FBU National Road Trip 2018

13 July 2018

The Family Business Team were delighted to take part in the FBU national road trip this spring. A key part of being an advisor to a business is to understand the culture, what’s important to that particular business and the reasons behind key decisions they make.

An opportunity for the team to spend a week with a whole host of businesses, seeing their day-to-day activity and listening to their aspirations and challenges was priceless, thank you so much to all the businesses that took part and made us so welcome.

We started in North Essex early Monday morning calling upon Chris Lindsey at CH Lindsey & Sons and Andy and Ann Smith at Future 50 company, Ultimotive. Then onto Hadleigh to another Future 50 company, Challs International, welcomed by Graham and Edward Burchell. Hot foot then to meet Rachel Garrett at CMG Technologies and Paul Andrews starts to wish East Anglia had a motorway! Current themes emerging already related to hiring and retaining the right staff and bringing in the next generation. Our discussions continued over dinner that evening at Bildeston Crown and we were pleased to be joined by Sue Gull of Scrutton Bland and her guests from G&A Fire Protection, Andy and Jacqui Bush.

Catching up with old friends on Tuesday, John Breheny at Breheny Civil Engineering and the Warnes family at Hadleigh Castings before moving onto another Future 50 company, Omega Ingredients. Elizabeth Pearce gave us a great insight into natural flavourings and aromas for the food and fragrance industry.

Stoke by Nayland Golf & Spa greeted us on Wednesday morning with a tour. Discussions around family constitution and seasonal workforce continued as we moved over to Sudbury and met with Julius Walters of Stephen Walters & Son, a tenth generation business, a fascinating story with royal connections see www.stephenwalters.co.uk/stephen-walters-fabric-for-the-royal-wedding.

At Munchy Seeds, Crispin and Lucinda Clay introduced us to roasted seeds that create healthy snacks and toppings for salads, yoghurts and other food stuffs. It was great to hear about their plans for the future – definitely one to watch!

We crossed the border on Thursday with an early start at Castle Clothing ‘the trusted supplier to Britain’s workforce for more than 45 years.’ They currently have four brands - Fortress, TuffStuff, Blue Castle and Fort Footwear – another hidden gem of a business in the East Anglian countryside.

The showroom of the Long Stratton Motor Company is quite literally the window of a fascinating family business and passion of Roger Bennington. Not only car sales; restorations and a motor sport division, a real treat for those of us who dream.… But from cars back to food, the Blofield Farm Shop founded by entrepreneurs Cara Blezard and Marcus Pearcey and then Kemp Herbs, a business which has grown quite literally to about 800 acres of herbs just outside of Thetford. Malcolm Kemp runs the business with his son, David.

The end of our week together was celebrated with dinner at Haggle in Norwich. We hope everyone who attended had a great time celebrating all that is great about family business, from start ups to tenth generation brands with the royal seal of approval.

If you want to be part of the road trip next year, contact [email protected].

This article is from the July 2018 issue of The Family Business, our newsletter for those working within family-owned businesses. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website.

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