So, how did the idea for Grasmere Gingerbread come about?
The Victorian Tourists were coming to the Lake Districts to see what had inspired great writers and artists and to visit the grave of the poet William Wordsworth, once alighting from their ‘four-in-hand’ coaches at the coaching inn –The Rothay Hotel, in Grasmere they had to walk past Church Cottage to get into the churchyard, and it was here that Sarah Nelson lived who decided to sell her refreshments to the travellers.
When was the company first established?
This was back in 1854.
How is the business doing?
Great, it goes from strength to strength although it never loses sight of its creator or its origins and that is why it is a success. Integrity!
Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?
Back in time probably WW2 when they were unable to get the ingredients but in 2015 Storm Desmond took away the road and with no infrastructure there was a vast reduction in visitor numbers and subsequent loss of trade.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
We stand out because we don’t have any competitors – we are unique!
What’s been your best business decision?
Trademarking the name to protect the product and its history.
What is next for Grasmere Gingerbread?
All sorts, every day brings new opportunities, international markets are growing because of Brexit and ecommerce too, however our mail order business is nothing new – we have been running it for 50 years plus! Would love a Victorian tea room and a food museum.
If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Working with family; don’t abuse it and make it official so everyone knows where they stand.
Finally Joanne, what is your favourite biscuit?
Well what do you think…. I am actually not a biscuit person but the Gingerbread is a cross between a biscuit and a cake and it gets to you!