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Micro Loan Inspires Husband and Wife Team to Expand Fruit and Veg Business

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The delivery of a veg box and a £20,000 fast track micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales  has inspired husband and wife team Liz and Chris Kameen to expand their Denbigh-based fruit and veg business.

The Vale Grocer stocks and sells organic fruit and veg which are either grown locally by the Kameen’s or supplied by farmers via Organic North, an organic wholesaler.  Customers in and around Denbigh and Ruthin can subscribe to a veg box that is delivered weekly to their home or visit The Vale Grocer shop in Denbigh.

The £20,000 fast track loan from the Development Bank is being used to fit-out a new industrial unit in Denbigh, as well as funding a larger van to scale-up deliveries. With a refrigerated storage facility and dedicated packing area, the aim is that the unit will become a hub where customers can buy organic fresh and grocery produce.

The Kameen’s believe that getting a veg box delivery is a great way of eating seasonally and provides a good source of inspiration for weekly meal planning. Liz said:

“We were left a veg box in our new home as a moving in present. Little did we know what a part this box would come to play in our future. We signed up for a weekly box and soon realised how getting a vegetable box delivered revolutionised our approach to cooking. Instead of going to the shops to buy veg for a meal we wanted to cook, we were forced to become more creative and use what we had. This inspired us to take on the business ourselves.

 “We now grow as much as we can ourselves and we’re working hard to get more farmers locally to grow organic produce that we can buy and sell. For us, it’s all about giving local people an alternative to mainstream supermarkets and bringing people closer to the growers and producers. The funding from the Development Bank means that we can really start to ramp up what we are able to do with the business and the process was so quick and easy with no stress;  It all came together quickly and it feels like the Development Bank really understand what we are trying to do.”

Alex Baines of the Development Bank of Wales added:

“Chris and Liz are a great example of how a passion for doing the right thing can also make good business sense.  They’re helping their customers to reduce packaging and food miles and benefitting the local community by doing something that they believe in. It’s great to see our fast-track micro loans being put to good use like this at a local level here in North Wales.”

 Small businesses, sole traders and social enterprises that have been trading in Wales for over two years can apply for a fast track micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales. Up to £25,000 is available and decisions on new customer loans are made within two working days.