Riverford celebrate 30 years of business
October 20, 2017
2017 is a big year for national veg box delivery scheme, Riverford Organic Farmers, as it marks 30 years since founder Guy Watson began growing veg on his parents’ Devon farm.
The business recently celebrated with their network of franchisees at a special annual franchise conference.
The weather was on their side for a festival themed event hosted on Riverford’s organic farm, in a double tipi tent pitched by one of the farm’s reservoirs.
The business’s franchise network extends across the whole of England and South Wales, so franchisees and their families travelled far and wide to attend the event, many opting to camp the night in a nearby field.
The day began with a relaxed buffet lunch, catered by Riverford’s on site award-winning restaurant, The Field Kitchen, and was followed by a number of interactive business workshops and talks.
Guy Watson’s speech focused on Riverford’s journey and progression over the last 30 years and his plans for Riverford to become employee owned in 2018. Updates on the new packing by customer lines and upcoming technology changes at Riverford followed.
The evening kicked off with an awards ceremony and food and drink. Pizzas made in a converted horse box by local restaurant Ode were a big hit, as were the cocktails served from an old ice cream van and the live music which went on late into the night.
Awards went to Matt Wilson, Liverpool and Warrington franchisee, who took the coveted Franchisee of the Year 2017 title. Matt took on his franchise in May 2015 and has seen sales grow by a staggering 47%.
The runner up award went to Gareth and Gill Rossiter, Dorset franchisees, for their continuous customer care and high retention levels.
Other regional award winners were Stephen Spears of Brighton, Adam and Claire Brown of Norwich and David and Emma Shulman of St Albans.
Nigel Loveridge, Riverford’s franchise services manager explained, “Our annual conference is an important date in Riverford’s calendar. It’s an opportunity for the franchise network to get together, find out what direction the business is taking over the next year and acknowledge and reward those that have worked hard over the last year”.