James Hall and Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses partnership celebrated

More than six months after a devastating fire occurred at Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses in the UK, a partnership has flourished between the cheesemaker and SPAR wholesaler and distributor, James Hall & Co. In November 2023 in the busy run up to Christmas, Butlers’ office and packing site in Longridge was destroyed in a blaze.

James Hall & Co, located down the road at Bowland View in Preston, immediately came to Butlers’ aid by offering a model that would both ensure business continuity and help it meet essential festive orders. A full stock holding system was established at Bowland View which enabled the Butlers team a full record of every pallet held in the building, and an assembly space and a storage area was created within the warehouse for its Christmas cheese hampers.

Assistance was also provided on each of Butlers’ four-weekly stock takes, and a facility was set up to ensure it could product test up to 50 pallets on the same time cycle. Transport was provided between the storage area at Bowland View and Butlers’ production facility, and initially over 700 pallets of stock were being stored in late 2023.

Since February 2024, the business arrangement has formalised. Hundreds of pallets at present continue to be stored at James Hall & Co as Butlers has recovered, with pallets either coming or going between sites five days a week.

James Hall & Co is now providing a transport service that allows Butlers to move some of its cheese to its new storage facility, while continuing to assist with the loading and organisation of third-party hauliers to collect from Bowland View.

Although not related, the families behind both businesses share the Hall name. On National Cheese Day recently, Matthew Hall and Andrew Hall celebrated the success of the ongoing partnership. Matthew Hall, fourth generation owner of Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, said, “As a fourth-generation family business, our values align, and we share a similar ethos. I think because of that there was an understanding of the integration needed immediately, and processes were put in place overnight.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support we received at such a critical and difficult time. The ongoing help with warehousing and distribution is also valued, and with both families sharing the Hall name too, you could say it was meant to be.”

Andrew Hall, joint managing director of James Hall & Co said, “Offering business support to Matthew and the family at Butlers was simply the right thing to do in the circumstances.

“The team in the warehouse here at Bowland View really went the extra mile to support the Butlers operation at a time when we too as a business were in the middle of the festive rush – however we understood what needed to be done.

“I am delighted to see how the relationship has evolved in the months since, and reflecting on the partnership work, I think it has been a wonderful business lesson in what can be achieved in a very short space of time through trust, experience, and excellent communication.

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