An award-winning artisan cheese shop and deli in North Wales benefits from Business Wales support to ensure successful start.

Set up by Gemma Williams in Rhyl in 2017, The Little Cheesemonger is an artisan cheese shop and deli, offering a wide range of gourmet cheese and goods. Gemma got in touch with the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service when she decided to set up her own business and has since benefitted from workshops, advisory support and the guidance of a volunteer Business Wales mentor.

  • successful start
  • jobs created
  • secured a £13,000 start-up loan
  • adopted sustainability and HR improvements in the business
  • established a successful relationship with a business mentor

Introduction to business

Set up by Gemma Williams in Rhyl, The Little Cheesemonger is an award-winning specialist cheese shop and deli, offering a wide variety of hand-selected artisan goods with a focus on cheese from Wales and Europe.

With experience in food retail in some of the most exclusive cheese shops in Edinburgh, Chester and Wales, Gemma set up her own business to offer a selection of gourmet cheeses, sharing platters and luxury hampers, by sourcing the best artisan products for people with a passion for food.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. I always thought I would be one. After living in a big foodie scene for 10 years in Edinburgh, I moved back to Rhyl where I just couldn’t get hold of the kind of cheese and artisan food which I had become accustomed to.

I was made redundant from my previous employer and then I thought: what have I got to lose? I began the process by contacting Business Wales and accessing help to develop a business plan. The physical shop did not come till about a year and a half later.

What challenges did you face?

Sourcing capital was the biggest challenge I faced. I only had a small pot of savings, so I got a start-up loan with the help of Business Wales. I also needed help with developing my marketing skills, so I attended a Superfast Business Wales course to help with this.

Business Wales support

Gemma got in touch with Business Wales for support to get her business idea off the ground. Having received advisory support to source funding, develop her business plan and get her sustainability and HR policies in place, Gemma was matched with a volunteer business mentor, Paul Cartwright, who is working with her on The Little Cheesemonger’s strategy for growth.

Outcomes

  • successful start
  • jobs created
  • secured a £13,000 start-up loan
  • adopted sustainability and HR improvements in the business
  • established a successful relationship with a business mentor

I have accessed a fountain of information and support from Business Wales. They have put me on courses, given me support and provided business mentoring. I really appreciate all the support as every business owner needs help from someone who is able to advise you without an invested interest. I still access support now when I need it and keep an eye on courses that may be useful.

Future plans and ambitions

I want to grow the business to have more facilities, which will enable me to offer more services and produce. With my mentor’s help, I intend to explore all options and plans and get it down in black and white.

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.

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