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Alex Olivant & Fred Fowler - Shop House Coffee Roastery 18 Feb

This month, as part of our IMPACT Inspiration blog, we take a look at our member’s fantastic achievements - when the lockdown led to a leap of faith…

What is your background?

We have both grown up on family farms in Lincolnshire, Fred in North Lincolnshire and myself (Alex) on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Having both finished education, we came back to Lincolnshire to start our careers in agriculture; Fred as an Agronomist, and Alex as a Farm Business Consultant.

Tell me how your new business came about?

During lockdown, we found ourselves with a bit more spare time, especially in the evenings and at weekends. We decided to use this time to explore the world from the safety of our own kitchen, with myself cooking meals from different locations around the world and Fred deciding to learn more about different coffee growing regions. Fred sampled coffees from all around the world. This led to a bit of a love for freshly roasted coffee, which led to googling online coffee courses. We were so inspired we purchased a coffee roaster to try it ourselves.

We specialise in single-origin speciality coffee, because of this we are constantly changing the coffee we have on offer to allow for customers to travel the world of coffee with us.

What drives you to succeed?
Our drive to succeed comes from our passion for the new business and the fact that we are both learning something new, whether that is about running our own business or roasting coffee.

How did Covid impact your business decisions?

If it wasn’t for COVID we wouldn’t have started this business. The lockdown gave us ample time to research and learn about the world of coffee and coffee roasting, as well as the time to actually convert an outbuilding into our new roastery.

What hurdles did you overcome?
Importing the roaster from Turkey was a ‘fun’ experience! Neither of us have ever been involved with importing equipment into the UK, so that was a learning curve.

What tips could you offer other members?
Our top tip would be to only do something you will enjoy. This business takes up our spare evenings and weekends, we still both have a full-time job, so making sure it is something we both enjoy was paramount.

What plans do you have for the business in the future?
We are hoping to get a larger roaster to allow us to do more business-to-business sales, as well as improving our efficiency when we are up at the roastery. At the moment, we do online sales and a few farmers markets. We have only been going a little over 6 months so for now, we are making sure we do what we do to the best of our ability before we venture to the next step. It may be a coffee shop, or maybe we stick to online sales but on a bigger scale. You can follow us on Facebook & Instagram to keep updated! Or you can sign up to our mailing list!

Where can we find your coffee?

You can find our coffee online at www.shophousecoffee.co.uk or you can also find us at Brigg Farmers Market on the 4th Saturday of every month or at Countryside Lincs in April.

Thank you Alex and Fred for an inspirational catch-up – we wish you continued success in your venture!

If you have an inspirational story you would like to share with IMPACT members, please do contact Josie Jamieson via email on jjamieson@lincolnshireshowground.co.uk

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