Lauren Dalby had experience in the restaurant business and, after seeing her local fish and chip shop in Mirfield close, she knew it was time to start her own business venture.
The great British cuisine had returned to the streets of Mirfield but Lauren wanted to approach the project differently. With her initiative and knowledge in customer service she first approached the ‘Mirfield Matters’ Facebook page:
She said: “I put up a message saying that I was to open the shop and asked what people would like to have on offer. I had over 250 responses in 15 minutes!”
Lauren then tailored her business plans to the market responses, to include opening Monday nights and to offer family deals on the menu.
She added: “I wanted to keep things local, so I sourced fish from the local fishmongers, bread from the bakery – even the butter to be produced locally!”
Lauren even planned to have a local artist create the company’s logo to be a portrait of Grandad Bill, its name in honour of Lauren’s late grandfather who loved a fish supper.
To help finance her business start, Lauren then approached BEF, the Business Enterprise Fund, and met with Investment Manager, Julie Micklethwaite, who agreed a business loan that did not require additional security.
“I’m glad I had Julie to speak to and not a call centre”, Lauren said. “It’s a much more ‘human’ way of doing it, less like Dragons Den – I could be myself. I’m also dyslexic, so having Julie as a personal port of call made the process more accessible.”
“Grandad Bills” fish and chip shop opened in August and is now thriving as a real part of the community. Lauren has created four jobs, including an apprentice and assesses her staff by their ability to relate well to customers:
“It’s not all about their qualifications. I want to help give people a step up and realise their potential by getting them into work.”