The owners of one of Staffordshire’s biggest farm shops say they have no plans to rest on their laurels after they completed an unprecedented hat-trick of industry awards in one year.
Rupert and Emma Evans, who run Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café, in Denstone, near Uttoxeter, say that despite their success, 2019 promises to be another busy year, with their to-do list including plans to open a new dog and cyclist friendly garden room and launch a new events and conferencing facility.
This month the farm shop and café became the first business to win both the Large Farm Shop and Restaurant of the Year titles at the 2019 Farm Retail Association Awards (FRA).
The awards are operated by the FRA, which represents 400 farm shops, farmers' markets and Pick Your Own farms across the UK, meaning that Denstone Hall beat off competition from much larger and longer-established businesses.
The award wins follow in the wake of the business picking up the title of Best Large Farm Shop Retailer in the prestigious 2018 Farm Shop and Deli Awards, as well as both the Farm Shop of the Year and the Judges Choice awards in the 2018 Taste of Staffordshire Awards.
The new awards have pride of place within the farm shop and café but Rupert and Emma are committed to further improvements and seek to challenge the business offering better services and facilities for their customers.
In particular, they want to cater for the growing number of dog-owning visitors by building a garden room where visitors can eat and drink with their pets by their sides, reflecting a surge in demand for dog-friendly dining destinations.
They will also set about creating a new 50-seat function room hireable for private functions and conference facilities in their new two-storey extension, which was opened in October last year.
And they want to redevelop their car park, as well as extending their current kitchen in order to create the space needed to keep up with the huge demand for their freshly baked, home-produced pies, pasties and cakes.
Rupert said: “We’re extremely proud to have achieved what we regard as our Grand Slam of industry awards. It’s never been done in the same year before and it’s the result of a tremendous amount of hard work by everybody connected with the business. We are very proud of our talented and dedicated staff who often go above and beyond to deliver to our customers.
“However, there’s still plenty for us to achieve and we’re very well aware that in our industry, any business that stands still ends up going backwards, which is why we have so many developments that we’re looking to put in place this year.
“We’re experiencing an increase in the numbers of visitors who are enjoying days out with their dogs and we’re excited about creating their own dedicated garden room, which will also be open to cyclists, families and walkers.
“We also know from the inquiries we’ve had that there is a demand for conferencing and function space in this part of the country, while the demand for our home-cooked goods has gone through the roof, which is why we want to expand our production kitchen too.”
Rupert and Emma set up Denstone Hall Farm Shop and Café 12 years ago, when it had 22 seats and a small shop and butchery. They now employ 70 staff working throughout the business from butchers, bakers, chefs, front of house café, farm shop, gift shop as well as a busy back office. The new gift area has been a huge success in offering a more rounded experience to the customer, again offering many locally made products.
It specialises in selling beef reared on-site at the Denstone Hall Farm as well as food and drink from local Staffordshire and Peak District suppliers.
For more information visit www.denstonehall.co.uk
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