When business experts talk about growing your business they maybe do not expect to be taken literally,
But for the Bradshaw family of Garstang that is just what has happened as their business evolved naturally.
With home grown potatoes, pick your own blackcurrants and freshly grown herbs and strawberries, not to mention potatoes and free range eggs being carried just yards to market, it was a case of growing in response to demand.
Olly Bradshaw explained that it had been very much a family affair.
The Bradhsaw’s Farm Shop and Garden Centre, a familiar landmark off the A6 just before the Nateby crossroad, was started by his grandparents who sold their own eggs from a stall in front of the farmhouse.
Olly’s parents Bill and Jean are still very much involved in the business, which is at Prospect Farm on the Garstang By-pass Road.
Olly, a former Garstang High student, has been working in the family business some 20 years and has been delighted to see it expand.
He said: “It was a proper farm selling eggs originally over 40 odd years ago. We started selling local potatoes and a bit of home grown rhubarb and that kind of thing and it has grown from there.
“We’ve gone from the basics to whatever people have been asking for and trying to grow more stuff as well. It’s growing year by year. We try to get what people ask for.”
In Bradshaw’s case that means everything from cakes to bird food, pet hutches to Pilling potatoes, plant containers to seeds and sweets, cheese to chutney.
Wherever possible they source additional produce and products locally - so you will find products such as Wallings Cockerham ice cream and Lancashire Crisps, alongside more exotic fruits and vegetables from further afield. Bradshaw’s home grown produce has, over the years, included: new potatoes, rhubarb, spring cabbage, pumpkins, courgettes, marrows, spinach, leeks, beetroot, beans, spinach, blackcurrants, gooseberries and herbs.
In winter there is plentiful fuel on sale and in summer a mix of bedding and perennials, herbs and vegetable plants prove popular.
Dad Bill delivers vegetables to restaurants, hotels and other catering establishments each day as well as to domestic customers.
Olly explains: “We have a vegetable box scheme and we deliver as far as Galgate and Broughton. Any further and we have to charge. We deliver seven days a week.”
Barring bank holidays Mondays and Christmas the shop and garden centre is also open seven days a week.
After selling eggs at the front of the house, then using their garage to sell vegetables from, the family realised they needed to extend - moving to a larger shed and then a bigger building, before converting the farm’s milking parlour into a shop in 1985. This building was itself extended in 2009.
Olly, who worked on a farm before joining the family business, is aware the most important people in a business like theirs are the customers. He said: “We’ve a good set of loyal customers.”
His wife Karley is responsible for the book-keeping and with two daughters Lauren,12 and Gemma, 10, he laughs: “I imagine they’ll be in the shop shortly.”