Leading UK hospitality supplier Out of Eden has welcomed Guy Hartley to its expanding team in the key role as a Buyer in the family business.
Based in Kirkby Stephen, Out of Eden was founded by Ian and Janet Hartley in 1993 and has seen continued growth ever since, now boasting a workforce of around 80 with the latest addition being their son, Guy.
Guy brings with him years of invaluable experience from his previous employment at PepsiCo at their head office in Reading, boasting an impressive CV after working with a number of national accounts including Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Lidl.
However, the start of his career wasn’t quite the high-flying experience that he may have expected: “I initially started out driving a van around East London selling crisps to corner shops.” says Guy. “It wasn’t too dissimilar to how my father would drive a van around the Lake District during the early years of Out of Eden, delivering products to hotels and guest houses.”
From there, Guy worked his way up through a number of roles at PepsiCo. “The roles were all heavily sales-focussed, so I came to understand exactly how Buyers work and the products they’re looking for. Now my role has completely shifted and I’m in the Buyers seat.”
Joining the business shortly after the Coronavirus lockdown hit in March, Guy faced something of a baptism of fire, becoming quickly immersed in the sourcing and supplying of PPE and sanitising products needed by hospitality establishments across the country while securing existing supply chain relationships to meet increasing customer demand. This was brought into sharp focus with news of a number of competitor businesses having to temporarily cease trading during the following months.
Working alongside Guy during the pandemic was Charlotte Bell, Out of Eden’s Purchasing Manager: “It is a real pleasure working alongside Guy, especially during the past few challenging months, as we very quickly introduced a vast range of COVID-19 related products which our customers have really appreciated. He’s already brought great business knowledge and new ideas to the team and I look forward to the future of product development within the business.”
Guy adds: “The response we have had to the pandemic and our ability to deal with COVID-19, as well as our ability to recover now that our customers have reopened, has been remarkable compared to our competitors.”
While Guy has spent close to a decade living amongst the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, London and Reading, joining the family business was always his ultimate objective, with the opportunity of building on the strong and successful foundations laid by his parents.
“The idea of continuing what my parents have built is very appealing to me because you’re doing so much more than simply a job. For a long time, my joining the business has been a question of when, not if.” Says Guy.
Guy adds, “I far prefer working in a smaller scale business, as you can make a much bigger impact than you can working in a bigger business, and we have a really great team here.”
While extending the family business with a second generation has always been a high hope for Ian Hartley, he remained insistent that Guy would only be considered suitable to join the team as and when his professional experiences were at the right level, as opposed to joining straight out of university.
“It was very important to Janet, Mike [Gannon, Managing Director] and I that Guy would only join the business when he had at least five years of corporate experience. Working in sales, advertising and analysis at PepsiCo ensured he had invaluable expertise that is now greatly benefitting Out of Eden.”
Mr Gannon adds: “I am delighted that Guy has joined us as part of the leadership team. The Buyer role is one which we had identified as being vital to the future growth of the business. With his experience and confidence, Guy brings a freshness to product development and innovation and I look forward to overseeing his progress in the business. He has already more than proved his value during exceptionally difficult trading times and now his focus is on helping develop Out of Eden in the years ahead.”
While this year alone has proved one of the most challenging periods any business has faced, Out of Eden remain dedicated to business growth. Commissioning and opening a new, purpose-built 10,000 sq/ft warehouse earlier this year, as well as welcoming Guy as a Buyer to the team, are all positive steps towards the business’s contingency plan to better serve its customers.
Guy adds: “We will continue to build our range and remain flexible as the market changes and our customers adapt. As long as we listen to our customers about what they want and how we’re serving them, I think we’ll be absolutely fine. I’m very excited for the future of Out of Eden.”