Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. That was, of course, the state of Gloucester earlier this summer. While not wishing to bore you with our problems, I will briefly tell you how we dealt with it.
When using the term "we" I mean it as the Royal "we"; my managing director Neville did 100% of the work and planning, while I contributed 1% of the ideas. So you see what a great team we are.
to the rescue
At our very lowest point, Thomas Adam, of Northampton-based Oliver Adams, phoned and asked Neville how he could help - and supply us if necessary. This he did, plus he gave us water for each night. We bought hot water boilers for every shop and had containers of water for flushing the toilets.
We put notices in every shop window, saying that one of the leading craft bakeries in the country, Oliver Adams, was producing goods for us. We only hope that our customers did not prefer these products to ours, or it might tempt Thomas to expand in our region. We are extremely grateful to you, Thomas, for your support.
Our deep freezers were fully stocked with our savoury products, so bake-off still did quite well. We also went to great lengths to mitigate our losses, so we are hoping our insurers will deal fairly - and promptly - with us.
But enough of our problems. Let’s chat about another subject:the continuance of family businesses. Two families that really impress me are Greenhalgh’s and Waterfields, both based in the north west. It is absolutely amazing how the two main protagonists for each company, Allan Smart and Albert Waterfield, could be so lucky as to have produced such talented hard-working sons - in David Smart and John and Richard Waterfield.
Normally, when you get very talented parents, the children are either not quite so clever business-wise or they tend to be spoilt.After all, if the father happens to be a great cricketer or footballer, we do not expect the sons to play for England. Yet we often expect the sons of talented fathers to do as well in business and, usually, they cannot - and in my view should not - be expected to do so.
So what have these two fine companies got in common? They produce top-quality products and appear to be run well.
Also, the managers are both "honourable" men. Somehow, the attributes of their fathers have been inherited. While I know John Waterfield, I do hope to meet David Smart and rectify that gap in my education, but both are men who will always find time to help and answer any queries we lesser mortals may have. Of course, these are not the only fine people we have, but space is limited.
Anyone reading this may well ask, "But why are you going on about these folks so much?" The reason is simple. Often, we are negative about so many things. Why, just once in a while, can we not celebrate the good things in our industry and be grateful for them? n