Veg & More is the online division of Makinsons Greengrocers, which has been established for over 30 years. The shop is currently being run by the 3rd generation of Makinson, Tom, with the help of his partner Sophie.
The business was originally started by Ian (Tom's Father) and Dorothy (Ian's Mother) in the early 1980s after Ian was made redundant. At the time, many steel industry workers were being made redundant and a surprising amount of workers were using their redundancy pay to open up Greengrocers shops. Ian openly admits that when he first opened the shop he didn't know the difference between a cabbage and a cauliflower!
As time moved on, the business was presented with many challenges; in particular the growing popularity of supermarkets and the convenience they offered. During this time many greengrocers closed shop and only a select few remained. It became very clear that the best way to beat them was to offer better service and a higher quality of produce. Following this ethos ensured that the business continued to be successful over the years.
In 2010, having decided he wanted a quieter life, Ian decided to retire and emigrated to Cambodia where he now lives. At the same time, Dorothy, who was then 84, also decided to call it a day. Tom, who had been working with his father from a young age, decided to take over the business and continues to run it to this day. Throughout his childhood, Ian never wanted Tom to take over the business due to the early starts, hard work and the lack of freedom that comes with it – however – all Tom can ever remember wanting to do was follow in his Dad's footsteps!
After 2 years of running the business, Tom noticed a change in the way people shopped. While his customers remained loyal, he felt there was a gap in the market where the internet was concerned. A lot of people were not happy with the service and the quality of the fresh produce they were receiving from the supermarkets; and with other home delivery services only delivering once a week there was no real alternative.
For six months "Veg & More" remained a dream, as to do it properly would require funding. Tom was discussing with 2 of his customers, Nick and Jo, about how the banks were not lending money any more and how he had a business plan but needed to wait until he had the funds to put it into action. Upon hearing this, Nick casually said "Why don't you just borrow it from us?". That's when, thanks to the support of his customers, Tom started turning Veg & More into a reality.
As many of his customers believed in shopping locally, Tom has used the services of as many local people as possible. As well as most of the products sold being sourced locally, Tom has also used local businesses for the design of this website, printing of leaflets/clothes/bags as well as the filming of videos and leaflet distribution. This way, by shopping with us you aren't just supporting us as a local business, but also the businesses we use.
Tom hopes that as time passes and the business expands, he can offer the service to a wider customer base, providing more people with an alternative to supermarket shopping.