When the economic downturn made Hayley Dwyer’s job in the public sector vulnerable, she found the solution was to invest in a Riverford Organic franchise.

Dwyer, who owns the franchise with her husband Andy, bought an existing territory as a resale, meaning that she was able to build on an already established business. She said: “The previous franchise owner had managed to grow the territory to a £1 million turnover in six years. We’ve now been running the business for 18 months and are starting to see further growth due to refining the logistics and improving on the local marketing.”

The couple found that although they were following a proven tried and tested business model, taking over an existing territory was not without its challenges. Mrs Dwyer said: “Because we’d bought an existing business there were seven part-time drivers and three part-time admin staff to consider. It was a major adjustment for them having new owners running the franchise and making changes, but of course they are very used to it now. As a franchisor, Riverford was brilliant while we were making the purchase, and were very supportive, and I also had a lot of great contacts from the public sector to turn to for further advice.”

As parents to a young son the couple have found that owning a Riverford franchise has improved their family life. Mrs Dwyer said: “Importantly, Riverford has become more than just a business or a way to make a living; it’s become a lifestyle, and an opportunity to help create a sense of community where we live. It’s also given us more time together as a family, which is something we really wanted.

“Right now, Jack, our four-year-old son, comes to shows with us. He’s only four but he’s already a part of our business. He even tries to sell, which is really very cute. But it’s an education for him, and has been good for his confidence – so much so that his teachers have even commented on his positive development at school. And being a Riverford franchise owner has actually helped with family logistics, too. Whereas before, we had to worry about childcare all of the time, now that’s no longer a concern.

“All round buying the franchise has been a positive move. It means we no longer grapple with community to London, we spend more time together as a family, enjoy more flexibility, and we have a very healthy income from the business, too.”

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