The owner of an award-winning Steyning business is preparing to ‘spread his wings’ by opening a new shop near Worthing.
Nick Hempleman, who has owned and managed the Sussex Produce Company for ten years, said it was ‘the right time’ to explore a new area in a bid to attract new customers.
The shop will be located in Goring Road, Worthing – opposite Costa Coffee – and will not impact the current shop, in High Street, Steyning.
Mr Hempleman said: “We have been open for ten years now in Steyning and had lots of success.
“We moved to larger premises in 2011 and, since then, have won various awards including the Sussex Food Shop of the Year in January 2018.
“We have built up a bit of a repuation for selling locally-produced stock including breads and vegetables and I think there is a gap in the market.
“We currently have a number of customers travelling to us from Worthing so that is a positive moving forward.
“It just feels like the right time to spread our wings and discover a new area.”
Mr Hempleman advertised job opportunities on the employment search engine Indeed and was ‘overwhelmed’ by the response.
He added: “We normally have about 15 to 20 people contact us when we advertise jobs but this time we have had 148 applications.
“We are currently interviewing the candidates and we hope to employ around a dozen people for the new shop.
“We have 42 people working in Steyning in the cafe, restaurant, offices and production. This new shop will be much smaller – about 1,000 square feet – and will just be a shop rather than a restaurant as well.”
Mr Hempleman has invested more than £200,000 since announcing his plans for a new shop, at the Sussex Food and Drink Awards, at the Amex Stadium, in Brighton, in January.
This money has paid for new floors, ceiling, lights and refrigeration accessories.
Mr Hempleman has not officially announced an opening date for the new shop but hopes to be opening soon.
He added: “This new shop is going to be great for a number of reasons. We source from more than 200 suppliers and 170 of those are based in Sussex. It is great to give these guys more business and could lead to them employing more people themselves.
“It is also going to be great to take on a new challenge. I am slightly nervous but in a good way.
“I am just hopeful the people of Goring will like it.”