What makes our place?

What makes place?

Working at Thomas Jardine & Co we find the understanding of what makes our place is key to successful collaboration.  Words are really important when we are talking about our place. “Our place” is such an emotive phrase.  It hints of a sense of belonging , of a shared cultural experience, a shared history BUT the phrase is so transient.  Place is all about collaborations, collaboration is what makes a place great BUT this collaboration has to have a focus.

Governing our place

Government constantly tries to define national and local place boundaries. Based in the City of Carlisle we are part of the County Cumbria and the Cumbrian LEP.  This is at the northern edge of the Northern Power House at the North of England.  Carlisle is also in the centre of Borderlands a Growth Deal covering 10% of the UK land mass cutting across the English/Scottish Borders.  We are just North of the Lake District ( a World Heritage Site) and at the Western End of Hadrians Wall (another World Heritage Site).

Tasting place

Slight differences in food help define place. Ian Gregg shared his story ( at a LA23 event) of how stotties were fundamental in the early growth of Greggs in the North East.  The food and drink  folk we work with in This is Cumbria all add magnificently to the flavour of our place. The food created by the terroir of a place is as important as the visible countryside. Realisation of this is  leading  to  local restaurants, cafes and wholesalers  stocking more locally sourced food so that we can experience local flavour.

Family Business and place

Jacqui’s work with family businesses based in our place always shows how important their pace is to their business.  A family businesses sense of place is rarely defined by government boundaries.  It is defined by the location of the family, its employees and its suppliers.  Often this starts with the town where the business was founded.  Then their place expands to the region it supplies  and onto the national market it is involved in.

The evolution of devolution

Political power in the UK is been devolved from the capital city. Not just to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but also to the regions.

At the second Borderlands conference we heard a variety of council leaders and council chief executives present the progress of Borderlands.  The collaboration of five counties across two countries with differing political leaderships has put our region on the devolution map. Carlisle, Cumbria and Northumbria are not just the northern most counties in the Northern Powerhouse.  They are now key partners in a region that covers 10% of the UK landmass. Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway are not just the southern most rural regions of Scotland.  They are now key partners in a region of 1.1 million residents.

Clearly collaboration across councils gives them more political power.  The City of Carlisle benefits from regional focus. Collaboration leads to Henri Murison support of the HS2 extension to Carlisle as part of the Northern Powerhouses transport strategy. Projects across Borderlands will get capital support from England and Scotland.  The support might not have come if the projects just had support from the location in which they were based.

Collaboration across place

The private sector is used to collaborating.  This is Cumbria was born from a group of like minded businesses. The Guild coworking space is built around people supporting each other.  Thomas Jardine & Co are working with Be the Business and others to improve productivity works because we all realise how important increasing productivity is to our places future.  At the Borderlands conference Peter Jackson of Northumbria County Council recognised the pivotal role of the private sector and each of the Borderlands councils will have an Economic Forum with two private sector members who will ensure this voice is heard.

Hopefully Borderlands will focus on collaborating to ensure our places infrastructure is fit for the 21st century.  It would be ideal if the private sector steers the public sector on the capital projects. Our needs of our individual place can sometimes clash with our needs of our regional place.  We all have to ensure we get the best fit for both these places.

We make our place

Wherever you are in the UK think about what makes your place.  It is not just the political boundaries that define us.  We often belong to more than one place.  This makes everyone’s place unique.  So don’t just rely on the public sector to define our place.  Collaborate and make your place better still.



Trade in Carlisle?? Opportunity to market your cafe, bar, restaurant or food outlet GLOBALLY

England Originals is an amazing new product being launched to help promote our historic cities. Carlisle has played its part, along with 15 other historic cities, to create this unique route to the international visitor market. Recent roadshows held in the USA have received lots of positive feedback from the travel trade and resulted in some key partnerships to help promote England Originals to the trade and independent travellers.

This is an opportunity for our local businesses to be the first to benefit from this kind of training event, which will share product knowledge, demonstrate how Carlisle is being promoted as part of England Originals and provide information about marketing opportunities available to your business through the project.

Book your place for course on 5th December by 30th November

Details below:

 


The Rise of Provenance


The rise in consumer interest in the provenance of their food driven by food scares and a desire to understand what we are feeding our children is possibly going to become more polarised into ‘cost conscious’ and ‘food conscious’ consumers. The rise of retail mergers may mean ‘provenance’ becomes a key point of difference for certain retailers.

Retail is changing, Sainsbury and ASDA merging is part of a major shake up in food retail similar to that of the UKs retail banking industry back in the 70s and 80s . The large retail multiples only tend to merge when they run out of ideas to grow their market share organically.

The merging of the banks led to the disappearance of many high street names…first in the banks like Midland, Coutts, Williams & Glyns and later the disappearance of many Building Society Names through to Bradford & Bingley. It was not all closures…there was the appearance of new international players like HSBC and Santander and new startups like Virgin and online solutions …First Direct.

The merger of Sainsbury and ASDA may in some part be to new alliances of other food retailers, specifically Tesco’s merger with Booker which effectively brings many local high street names under one banner (One Stop, Budgens, Londis , Family Shopper and Premier will all be supplied by the new group); the Coops takeover of NISA brings the Costcutter and NISA brand into the Coops supply chain and Morrisons developing relationship with Amazon.

Large mergers are generally made to cut costs which usually means simplifying the supply chain. The discounters (Aldi and Lidl) simplify the chain by limiting choice this allows them to support provenance at a national level (allowing Lidl to promote Scottish Food), Tesco has tended to simplify its supply chain by cutting suppliers and reducing opportunities to celebrate provenance. Morrisons and the Coop both celebrate provenance at a local and regional level using this as a key point of difference.

It will be interesting to see where the focus of the new Sainsbury/ASDA group lies (reduction in suppliers or focus on regional/local provenance). The choice may well depend on the focus of us as consumers and interestingly last month saw the launch of Happerley an organisation focused on promoting genuine food provenance. If you have a genuine desire to see the growth of your local food industry we would suggest you check Happerley out, it was officially launched at the Farm Shop & Deli Show in April with support from amongst others Adam Henson (BBC Countryfile) Peter Jinman (Head of DEFRA Animal Welfare) & Philip Pononby (CEO Mid-Counties Co-operative) and if this works it has the chance to change the attitude of the food supply chain in the UK for ever.

Food provenance should not just be about supporting trendy/exclusive local food it should be about creating a genuine food supply for all that is focused on its area and genuinely supports a local/regional taste for our local high street food offering.

First published in Place Magazine for Revive and Thrive

if you want to talk food contact us at hello@thomasjardineandco.co.uk


A City Network, Food and Drink Producers, Family Business, Entrepreneurs and Place…one example

The wonderful Shepherds Inn (possibly offering us the best beef in a sandwich at a business lunch ever) in Carlisle, hosted the most recent Carlisle Ambassadors event this time it showcased food in and around the City.

Bruce and Luke’s Handcrafted Coffee in conversation with Armstrong Watson

Speakers as diverse as Grasmere Gingerbread; Peter Sidwell; The Taste Magazine from CN Group; the Northwest Hospitality Show and Carlisle City Council all offered a flavour of how the food sector both impacts and relies on the area in which it is based.

Around the room we had displays from some of our great Food and Drink producers from relatively new businesses such as the Carlisle Living Award winning COM-FOR-T, to the long established trans-generational Pioneer Food Services.

By bringing together the diverse membership of the Ambassadors with Food and Drink businesses from across our area, it offered the members a taste of some of the fine products available from Lakeland Mues Muesli, Carlisle Brewery’s fine collection of ales, Two White Hats seasoning mixes, Grasmere Gingerbread, biscuits from COM-FOR-T, sausages from Pioneer, rhubarb crumble gin from Solway Spirits, to scones made with fresh herbs from Helens Herbs and many more. It also gave the members an opportunity to think about how important this sector is to the City.

The food sector not only offers long term employment from transgenerational family firms, whether this is from the smaller food producer with a global reach such as Grasmere Gingerbread, who at over a 170 years has an impressive array of international customers or Pioneer Foods at almost 150 years old that plays an essential part in the food supply chain across the City, SW Scotland and the North of England. The food sector also encourages the growth of innovative new businesses either rural (Lakeland Mues), urban (COM-FOR-T), Carlisle based (Carlisle Brewery) or from across the border (Solway Spirits).

From our stand we (Thomas Jardine & Co) asked attendees how they could either support this sector, or as a Food and Drink producer, what type of support they wanted from other businesses. The answers were illuminating and we will share these at another time, perhaps for now you could ask yourself the same questions…either as a non-food business what could you do for Food and Drink Producers near you, or as a Food and Drink Producer, what could you gain (or want) from working with businesses or experts near to you? Any thoughts please tweet us @thomasjardineco or email: hello@thomasjardineandco.co.uk

 


Food Entrepreneurs….the Lakeland MUES story

 

Lakeland Mues…it is all about trust and product, a SPACE and TIME dimension.

A great morning out and an opportunity to talk to the Lakeland Mues guys, two young lads whose passion for quality muesli led to a starring role in BBC Two’s recent ‘Back to the Land’ documentary on local food producers.

Arriving at Lakeland Mues HQ we were met by Luke clutching a bag of their new ‘Total Nutter’ blend, Luke had a broad grin on his face that to be honest we’ve always seen him wearing.

First met the Mues guys when we were manning a market stall next to them on a particularly wet and windy Cumbrian autumn day.  Their belief in their product shines through despite their practiced nonchalant style.  They truly appreciate the lifestyle they can have in this wonderful part of the world – #Cumbria – and also have the talent and work ethic to make sure they have a business that will succeed and thrive.  They are already coaching a roaster in the fine details of producing their muesli and have a small team of people assisting with the bagging.

We sit down with Tim and Luke over a cup of tea and try to capture what drives them and how they manage to thrive in a highly competitive market place.  The answer as always is both simple and complicated.  They both agree that food businesses always learn from each other and they are always looking for tips on doing things.  A growing business always has new demands on your time and there never seems enough time to do all the things they need to do, but that stops them from getting bored and you get the feeling they quite like taking on new challenges. The greatest balancing act of all, SPACE (both Physical and Head, the SPACE to think and plan) and TIME – the elusive commodity which can be easily lost and hard to find!

 

They both agree that they work well together both have separate roles, one more creative and one more on the financial side of the business.  But both are happy to work on getting large orders out or working jointly on anything else that a growing business inevitably faces above all else whatever happens always have a laugh about it.

The Lakeland Mues business is currently based in two units one for storage and office work and one just down the road where the alchemy happens roasting the seeds and nuts that goes into their generous muesli.  They would ideally like to merge this into one location and plans are in motion to get this done (again showing that they are not just working on the day to day of the business).

They have a growing order book from retailers and farm shops which clearly demonstrates how their drive is growing their business and they also have quite a loyal on-line fan base who regularly buy their product (the appearance on the TV definitely helped this). And they have just won a coveted Guild of Fine Foods   2 Star TASTE Award!  OUTSTANDING!

Above all else they have a belief in their brand and work with people they trust, you just know these guys are going somewhere, watch out Kelloggs, the Cumbrians are coming.

 

 

How are you feeling about your business – are you ON IT? If YES, get in touch and tell us your story, if No, get in touch and see what we can do to make your life better – at the very least you’ll experience an exceptional cup of coffee!

email: hello@thomasjardineandco.co.uk

Facebook/Twitter @thomasjardineco