Moving to the English countryside has a lot of upsides: idyllic scenery, open spaces, fresh air. But one thing Fred Duncannon wasn’t counting on was a lack of locally sourced fresh produce. Frustrated with the situation, the former marketing and graphics professional decided to fix it — and dive into a new career.
“I saw this as an opportunity for me to start a business aimed at customers who, like me, wanted the full countryside experience,” he says.
So, in March 2012, Fred partnered with Sam Edden to open Stansted Park Farm Shop, which seeks to provide as much locally sourced fresh produce as possible.
In addition to a wide range of fruits and vegetables, Stansted Park Farm Shop also has a butchery and a production kitchen, and sells freshly caught fish, local cheeses and more. Customers can visit the farm shop in Hampshire or order online for delivery.
“We pride ourselves on how local and fresh everything is.” ~ Fred Duncannon, co-owner of Stansted Park Farm Shop
Doing business online
Fred and his team have learned the world of retail on the job, and they’ve determined certain areas of the business where they need outside help. For example, they’ve found experts to help manage their website, and when a contractor recommended GoDaddy for website hosting, Fred agreed — and never looked back.
“We haven’t had any issues, and it’s great value for the money,” he says. “There are online shopping capabilities on our website, so it’s vital for the business that its hosting is secure and reliable.”
In addition to an online store, website visitors can find fantastic recipes and other interesting fodder on the Stansted Park Farm Shop blog. The business also maintains an active presence on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter — a great strategy for showcasing products and events and for connecting with customers and business partners.
Poised for growth
Despite not having previous retail experience, the shop is growing at a rate of 40 percent year-over-year. Now offering more than 400 high-quality products that come from within 30 miles of the shop, Stansted Park Farm Shop is poised for expansion. As Fred explains:
“We’re looking at using a Sussex barn to house a larger butchery and shop, with a wood-fired kitchen. The existing shop will be turned into a school for hosting courses in foraging, fish preparation, bread-making and butchery.”
Focusing on the expansion is where Fred wants and needs to spend his time. With GoDaddy keeping his website up and running, he can do just that. “With so much to consider, from product ranges to expansion,” he says, “it’s comforting to know that our website is in good hands.”
Also published on Medium.