Devon was in for a big surprise when Neil and Lorraine Stapleton launched their OSCAR Pet Foods franchise business twenty years ago. Celebrating an anniversary in a business that continues to flourish proves there is always room for more!
"In a past life we recall how much we wanted to take control of our work life balance. For various reasons it was important to gain the direct rewards from our own hard work, and discovering OSCAR, when a van drove past our house, ticked all the boxes, despite having no knowledge of dealing with pets or the finer implications of self-employment."
Neil continues, "Those days of working long, unsociable hours in the forces and driving lorries had to end! Lorraine`s work, as a typesetter, had many benefits but she too was ready for a new challenge.
"If there is a secret to our success we could say it is OSCAR: we wanted work to be a pleasure and this would not have been possible without the OSCAR support. By applying our respective strong points we've maintained harmony - working from home and as a team helped our business to grow from strength to strength. Not much has changed in twenty years as we have continued as we began, with me making deliveries and meeting customers while Lorraine takes control of administration, planning schedules and keeping the accounts up to date. Marketing, sales, support and advice is something we have shared, each having a different quality, and it has helped to generate customer satisfaction and recommendations.
"Bearing in mind we had a young family in those days we were determined, dedicating as much time as possible to the business; there was no let up. But the great thing about OSCAR is its flexibility in time management, which helped us to move forward. With a product that sells itself time and time again we found the confidence to expand our area and grow the business with ease. However, as the years have gone by technology is making a huge difference, albeit that we still enjoy the tradition of being hands on and having face-to-face contact with our customers."
Neil goes on to say, "To become finalists in the bfa Franchisee of the Year award within the first ten years of trading was an honour, but to be pipped at the post did not disappoint – well, not completely. It means we continue to take full advantage of the support from Head Office, giving us both - in 2016 - the chance to gain, with an outstanding distinction, the Certificate in Companion Animal Nutrition (COAPE) RQF Level 3. Along with participating in all the other incentives provided by OSCAR we love to compete and being in line to win a weekend in New York made it all worthwhile – on more than one occasion.
"We can`t have wished for a better opportunity to bring us the lifestyle and income we focused on from the start. There is no doubt we have achieved our goal and more, and to become the most successful franchisees within a franchise that is the largest pet food home delivery business in the UK is something we are proud of.
"Now, with our young family all grown up, we are left with the choice of being able to travel around the world and still grow the business, while living the comfortable life we planned twenty years ago – we've worked hard enough to know this is something to celebrate!"