When Deborah Lamplugh, who runs Forthay Bed & Breakfast in Dursley, first began serving up her new granola to guests, little did she know it would become a whole new business.
While Covid-19 lockdowns all but decimated her bed and breakfast business, Deborah decided to explore the potential of her popular home-made cereal during the pandemic, after remembering that a marketing director who had stayed at the B&B had said she was onto something.
After loading her car with a batch of samples and delivering them to local farm shops and village stalls under the name Forthay Granola, she was blown away by the response.
Orders came in immediately, as did a one-star rating from the Good Taste Awards, and her search for business advice led her to Cirencester Growth Hub and business navigator, Stephen Meyer.
‘After talking to Stephen, we identified that we needed a separate website for the granola as it was being sold through the B&B website and he advised us on which business grant we could apply for to fund this next step.
‘Not only did he give us advice and business support, but he also connected us with new stockists. It was so nice to have someone believe in our business and help it to grow,’ said Ms Lamplugh.
When the grant came through, she was signposted to business guide, Hannah Darby, who worked with Ms Lamplugh and her web design team to create an e-commerce website specifically for her new business.
‘Hannah became like my mentor. There were so many things she helped us with and was very involved to help create the best customer experience on the website,’ Ms Lamplugh added.
Growth since then has been exponential, with product diversification, increase in direct and wholesale orders, PR exposure in top tier food magazines and an ITV feature with Ainsley Harriott due to air later this year.
When she needed to convert their double garage into a commercial kitchen, the Growth Hub stepped in again with business guide, Peter Brown, helping her explore production expansion.
‘This is what the Growth Hub is so brilliant with. Under their umbrella there are so many specialists and all you need to do is pick up the phone and tap into them,’ said Ms Lamplugh.
Plans are afoot to supply cafes, boutique hotels, farm shops and delicatessens, as well as developing a range of energy balls and stocking Forthay breakfast products nationally.
By Andrew Merrell