When Andy Atkinson, MD of Cornish Orchards, and Ruth Huxley met for the first time, Ruth was a newbie on the Cornish food scene and Andy was a novice drinks producer. It was 2001, a muddy field at Pencarrow, and the first ever food fair for Cornish Orchards, who stood behind their table proudly rubber-stamping every brown paper bag with the company logo as they went along.
Those days of rubber stamps and brown paper bags are now a distant memory, but it’s testament indeed to the transformation of Cornish food and drink in the intervening time that Cornish Orchards was snapped up by the London brewery, Fuller’s, in 2013.
Andy and Ruth have rubbed shoulders throughout the journey and Ruth has contributed to a range of projects, including a successful major funding application and an assessment of Cornish Orchards’ market potential back in 2008. This was a document that Andy picked up at intervals over the following years as he created a strategy to assure the long term future of the business.
When Andy took the major step of introducing senior managers into the company, Ruth mentored the new Marketing Manager through the Unlocking Cornish Potential scheme, which helped open the door to a re-brand. Andy will happily tell anyone now that the re-brand was pivotal in making the business attractive to a major buyer.
It’s tough for any business owner to let go of their creation enough to let others take a hand in its development and here at Cornwall Food & Drink we’re acutely aware that many of the businesses we work with are understandably protective of the products and brands they have created – their ‘babies’. Often they also feel, deep down, that something needs to change but are understandably nervous about jeopardising the business they’ve put their heart and soul into building. We’re good at guiding our members through change to help them achieve their potential but won’t ever suggest change lightly or unnecessarily.
“Over the past ten years we have greatly benefited from Ruth Huxley’s specialist business knowledge of food and drink through market intelligence reporting, mentoring and assistance with a funding application. Without question, I continue to profit from the wide ranging services now provided by ‘Team CFD’; a dynamic food industry support company brim full of energy, ideas and enthusiasm.”
Andy Atkinson. MD, Cornish Orchards