‘Lovely’ is a word which Pev Manners uses frequently, and it often pops up on his drinks company’s website too – so should we read anything into that? The answer has to be a resounding yes because Pev has turned Belvoir Fruit Farms – the table top business started quite innocently by his parents Lord John and Lady Mary Manners in the early 1980s – into a £15 million success story.
This feature interview was first published in issue 19 of the Lincolnshire Business weekly magazine, now available to read at www.lincsbusiness.co. Subscribe to the email newsletter to receive the latest edition in your inbox this Friday.
Refreshingly, there’s even more good news to come. In April, his 65-strong workforce will switch to a new complex costing £4 million, in Barkestone Lane, Bottesford, about two-and-a-half miles from its current home in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir.
“My late parents would never have imagined we would be where we are today, but I started making changes from the moment I joined the business and we’ve never stopped. We’re in a highly-competitive market and it is essential to keep innovating.”
So everything’s “looking lovely” for the business, then? “It is very exciting, it’s just a case of working hard to get everything to come together on the new site. For instance, we have three working shifts and we are having to ensure that we make sufficient quantities of our drinks to see us through the changeover period. We are already testing one of our two production lines,” Pev said.
“Ideally, I’d like to invest further and eventually add photovoltaic panels to the south and east faces of our new building, possibly install a biomass boiler and also create a reed bed for waste water, but with the cost of our capital build threatening to rise daily, we will have to do these other things in stages.
“However, one thing I am particularly proud of the fact that our investment will bring everything together within premises which we own, rather than lease, and that they are being constructed in a way which will allow for further expansion,” said Pev.