Former oil worker plans to radically expand bacon business thanks to £27,000 crowdfunding success – Evening Express
Mark Reynolds, who owns the Piggery-Smokery, based in the Alford area, launched the campaign last month and smashed its target of £22,500.
A north-east bacon producer, who recently lost his job in the oil and gas industry, is celebrating after nearly 300 supporters pledged money to his business’s crowdfunding appeal.
Mark Reynolds, owner of Piggery-Smokery based in the Alford area, launched the campaign last month and has smashed his target of £22,500, receiving just over £27,000.
The money will enable him to purchase a slicer which will increase production time dramatically, and will mean that in just one hour Mark will be able to slice the same amount of bacon he would usually do by hand in a day.
Upscaling and going global
He said: “It takes us about 10-11 hours to cut, weight and package all of the bacon in the one day and we’re doing that at least once a week so this will really help us. The machine should reduce that to around an hour, that means we can get on with other things and produce a lot more bacon now.
“We need somewhere to put the machine, and that’s the next thing. We have industrial units booked in Alford to have it up and working for now.
“We are trying to become a secondary food producer more than anything by making our bacon. We’ve just sent some boxes to Portugal recently and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, too. It is a little trickier sending global, but we’re getting there!”
Speechless from the kindness of those individuals backing his company’s Kickstarter, Mark says it hasn’t just been the financial support they have received as part of the campaign that Piggery-Smokery has benefitted from, but individuals offering up a range of skills to help develop his business even more, and putting him in touch with other influential individuals.
He said: “We’re totally overwhelmed. I’m speechless to be honest. It was a bit nerve-wracking launching the crowdfunder as you never know how these things will pan out. I was so chuffed that nearly 300 people have supported the campaign.
“People from across the world have donated, but the local support has been phenomenal. We had two targets, one which was £22K and the other at £200K. The £22K was for the machinery we need to be able to upscale and the £200K is to invest in new premises and bring the business on in unimaginable ways.
“It isn’t just about the money, we’ve had so many people get in touch asking how they can help us. The average spend on the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was around £90, which is a lot of money. There’s also people with a range of skills who have been in touch like marketing, business workshops etc, too. The expertise we’ve been exposed to has been brilliant.”
New premises – The Soos’ Lug
And while the £27K crowdfunder has allowed Mark and his family, who are also involved in the business, the opportunity to purchase a much-needed slicer, the family has been busy renovating the new Piggery-Smokery bacon store.
Named The Soos’ Lug – the pigs ear – the entrepreneur is looking forward to opening the doors in the not-so-distant future which will also benefit from a small cafe area and provide a face-to-face retail unit where customers can get their Piggery-Smokery fix.
“Before we launched the Kickstarter, we went for a few different local shops but didn’t manage to secure them. I lost my job around eight weeks ago in the oil and gas industry, so we decided to purchase a shop in Alford and do something with it,” said Mark.
“We’ve started renovating the store – The Soos’ Lug – which means the pigs ear, and it will have a nice menu, too. It is going to be a retail outlet for our bacon so the big thing for us is to diversify and expand. By having a retail outlet we will potentially be able to sell a lot more bacon than we currently are. There will be a cafe element to it, but with Covid-19 just now, it is a lot more tricky. It will be more of a takeaway to start off with. It means we can sell the bacon to people across the counter.
“We would look to potentially showcase other high-quality local products in the future, too.”
This content was originally published here.