Cornwall Farmers has announced a £2.3 million investment in the business that will grow its presence as a leading supplier to rural communities across Cornwall and Devon.
The farmer-owned co-operative, which has been trading for more than 90 years and employs 200 people, is upgrading its network of Country Stores, investing in new IT systems and staff training, and increasing its range of services and products to appeal to a wider customer base.
The investment is being supported with £920k from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Business Catalyst Fund, which exists to help eligible businesses improve productivity and create jobs and is funded by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
As part of its growth plans, Cornwall Farmers will be investing in its country stores across Cornwall and Devon. This will include the introduction of a new store concept at selected stores under the new name of Patch & Acre Country Stores.
Simon Birch, chief executive of Cornwall Farmers, said: “This is a major investment programme that will benefit all areas of the business. It will allow us to better serve our heartland agricultural customer base while appealing to new groups of customers who love the countryside but might not have tried us before.
“Our aim is to build on our reputation for rural expertise and quality products, increase footfall to our stores and ensure a sustainable future for our co-operative. The support from the Business Catalyst Fund is a strong vote of confidence in Cornwall Farmers and we look forward to realising our plans over the next year.”
LEP chairman, Chris Pomfret, added: “Cornwall Farmers is a significant employer and an integral part of rural life in our region.
“This support from our Business Catalyst Fund will help accelerate the co-operative’s modernisation programme, create and protect jobs, boost productivity in the agricultural sector through the enhancement of local stores and open up new markets for local suppliers as Cornwall Farmers expands its offer to customers.”