At a point in the economic cycle when banks were cautious about lending to the retail sector, Reach Commercial Finance recently secured a £150,000 loan – under the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme – for Fordingbridge Farm Foods Limited.

The funding means that the dreams of client and company directors, husband and wife team Gerry and Cath Mackenzie, to become artisan butchers, can now be realised.

With the necessary capital behind them, Fordingbridge Farm Foods Limited has acquired two existing rural butchers’ shops and will soon move to the capital, opening a uber-cool new 2,500 sq. ft. store in central London.

Their business plan also includes providing outdoor catering porchetta and hog roasts from a trendy, branded vintage Citroen van.

The move into artisan butchery – with a particular focus on artisan charcuterie, itself a craft – is a dramatic career change for Gerry.

A lifelong banker, his initial interest and passion was for making homemade sausages from prime cuts supplied by a local pig-farmer soon grew. Initially making high quality sausages for himself, demand from friends and neighbours in his village grew and very soon Gerry was making his “bangers” for customers in all the surrounding villages and for local food fares, winning awards for their produce. He and his wife now have two shops under their ownership and plan to open more.

Due to challenges for the retail sector to secure mainstream funding, the Hampshire-based clients required an alternative finance solution to realise their ambition.

The specialist brokerage services provided by Reach Commercial Finance were recommended to Fordingbridge Farm Foods by a long-standing banking contact, and funding was subsequently provided by Clydesdale Yorkshire Banking Group.

Reach Commercial Finance has a thorough understanding of the retail sector and proven track record in securing loans for clients operating within it, and recommended the EFG scheme

Reach’s Shaun Hyland, who brokered the deal, said: “Our expertise in the retail sector – along with our contacts – meant that we were able to introduce the most appropriate lenders and solution and to push the deal through.

“We worked closely with the client for over 12 months to secure the finance and draw the loan – and have become, along the way, a real sounding board for the future development of the whole business.”

Gerry Mackenzie, Director of Fordingbridge Farm Foods, said: “Reach Commercial Finance and Clydesdale Yorkshire Banking Group secured a funding solution for us that has absolutely changed our life, allowing us to turn our passion into a career and for that I am most grateful.

“I am excited about implementing all the many ideas that we have for the existing two butchers’ shops and our award-winning charcuterie offering as we move into London. One thing’s for sure – we have some fantastic times ahead.”

Reach Commercial Finance is an independent financial brokerage with a wide range of experience in helping limited companies and corporate entities secure funding. It is part of Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group.

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