Oakes Farm Shop in Balsall Common opened in 2013, turning a long-term dream into a reality for owner Gary Oakes and his family. Now celebrating five years in business the family-run farm shop and café is looking to expand.
After many years of selling their home-produced eggs, they toyed with the idea of diversifying their farming business on the back of suggestions from their customers. The family’s farming history goes back almost a century and had farmed the land for several generations.
With the help of accountancy firm Burgis and Bullock, they took the step of building on that side of the business with a shop and café.
Now the Oakes Farm Shop is the sole business focus for Gary and his wife Jayne, who rent out their farming land to a neighbour. Gary told the Coventry Telegraph: “The shop has essentially grown from an honesty box placed on the edge of the farm to our main focus. We were talking about making the leap for a number of years before actually doing so and, five years later, we are in a position to look at expanding. The whole operation is just growing and growing”.
“Over the next 12 months we want to expand our café area and are drawing up plans. We have a growing customer base with local people [and] we work with local producers, support rural business and have grown to employ 35 people from 10 when we began. We have taken it step-by-step and while we are no-longer hands-on farmers, our land around the business is still farmed and actually produced lamb for our butchery business.”
Trevor Day, from the client services department at Burgis and Bullock, said: “Oakes Farm Shop is a perfect example of a farming family diversifying their business and moving with the times. They have a wonderful site, excellent facilities, great products and are well known and respected in their community.
He added, “With Brexit looming, the majority of farmers are looking to diversify their business to insulate against the impact of reduced subsidies. I could not think of a better example than Gary and his family.”
Source: Coventry Telegraph