Grown in Wales

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two types of business

Charles Warner

I think that there are two types of business. There is the type where someone has discovered a product or a sevice or something that they truly believe in and they simply have to take it out and offer it to people. The other kind is one where someone wants a business. Maybe as a money making machine or for the power it gives them or just to make a living. I think that you can tell the difference between the two and I think that sometimes a business starts out as the former and then turns into the latter.

My suspicion is that someone once ceated or found a recipe for a soft drink , thought it was wonderful and health giving and decided to market it to the world. Just because Coca Cola is now a huge corporation doesn't mean that it didn't start with someones belief in the product.

I also suspect that some of the giants of retailing just plan out a business from scratch possibly starting with the bottom line that they wish to achieve and working upward to a product and a store and a level of customer service that will help them to achieve it.

I am close to finishing building a new house. i am very lucky in that the two guys that are doing the work are the former kind of business. When you see a house built from scratch you begin to understand the huge range of skills that are required and the orginisation and planning that are essential if the house is going be good when its finished. If you get a small thing wrong with the foundations it leads to big things being wrong by the end. These guys looked after every detail at every stage. There was never any exaggerated sucking in of air or shaking of heads. When they proposed ideas, they explained them clearly. Nigel once had a sleepless night because he thought that there would not be enough room for my saucepan handles in the inglenook for my Rayburn. In a perfect world Nigel and Kip would be raking it in but because they have to compete on price with all the guys that cut corners and use poorer materials, they never make much in the way of profit. From a purely business point of view they probably should start cutting those corners. Stop worrying about the plaster cracking along the window sills in two years time and maybe try to hide some of those imperfections rather than being still there at eight o'clock floating the walls to perfection in case the tiling doesn't look perfect. The trouble is they can't do it. They just don't know how to do a shoddy job and they compete with the guys that do and most of the competition is based around the price for the work.

Like I say I'm lucky. What it means to me is that I don't have to worry about it. Their standards are actually higher than my own and I'm able to let them get on with it. When they have ideas about the building then they are almost always good ideas. I've got to find some way of thanking them .

Yesterday I found another business like that. As Christmas approaches I have to admit to a growing sense of loathing for it. A mixture of bad memories and an expectation of false jollity leave leave me with a sense of dread that I find harder to shake off each year that passes. Usually my ticket out of that feeling is to buy the christmas food. I'm not a big one for the traditional turkey and all that. I find it's a lot of work. I tend to concentrate more on the little extras. Yesterday I went down to Narberth for those little extras.

 When you walk in the door of Ultracomida you know that you have entered a business where the produce comes first. They might be the shrewdest business people in the world but I am certain that they would be doing what they do regardless of that. In a world of mass produced, cheap food, Ultracomida present food with down to earth integrity. They put together produce fron France, Spain and Wales from producers that love what they do and, like Nigel and Kip, find it impossible to  cut corners. Out the back they have a little bistro, cafe, restaurant where they serve uncomplicated dishes that just have a meat and bone goodness about them. There is olive oil on every table. As I left the deli I started to relax a bit about Christmas. Whatever the next few days had in store I had a little bag of delightful food that would, as I savour it by the fire with my girlfriend, remind me that there is a world beyond commercial exploitation and that there are people out there doing things right and I have the rest of my life to find them.

Just the cheese section .

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