BUSINESS OF THE WEEK: The Flying Pickle

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Welcome to this week's Business of the Week! Apologies that this week's edition is a little late, and that there was no article last week. Rest assured, all kinks have been ironed out and we're determined to get fresh content out to you every Monday.

Two weeks ago, we kicked off this new feature by interviewing Tina Mosley of Chic' It on Bridge Street. This week we were feeling decidedly peckish, and so flew on down to The Flying Pickle to chat things through with Jack Copeland...

BUSINESS OF THE WEEK: The Flying Pickle imageOne way to build a successful business is to find a gap in the market. The entrepreneur with a keen eye will spot a town or situation lacking a particular good or service, and find an inventive and enticing way to fill that niche. That's exactly what Jack Copeland has managed with The Flying Pickle on Gold Street.

We caught up with Jack during a busy afternoon's service, and he explained how the idea for The Flying Pickle came about.

"I wasn't getting any younger or prettier," he says, "and thought it was time to do something on my own, having more of a free rein."

Jack's been a chef for more than 20 years, spending five of those years as a specialist pastry chef and working in a number of prestigious restaurants and hotels. But after all that time, he was hankering for a change of scene.

BUSINESS OF THE WEEK: The Flying Pickle image"I was looking to run a place which promoted local produce with local provenance, giving people good food from the deli side of things."  Living 10 miles out of town, Jack felt there was a niche in Tiverton for an indepedent, high-quality deli - and the reasonable business rates sealed the deal.

Almost everything that is served in The Flying Pickle is homemade, including most of their famous sweets and all their pastry dishes. Distinctive quiches and pies are made on a daily basis, and customers love their coffee and brownies.   "Nothing here is bog standard", Jack says with great pride.

Jack positions the cafe and deli as part of the same, welcoming whole. He describes them as having a "symbiotic relationship", together creating a relaxing vibe where people can come to buy the best food and relax with friends.

Like any small or indepedent business, Jack's hours are long and arduous. Arriving at the 'Pickle around 7:30am every morning, he goes through his to-do lists and promptly opens at 8am to begin serving tea, coffees and breakfasts. As the morning wears on he's busy preparing all the food for lunch, including quiches, mixed salads and everything on the a la carte menu.

BUSINESS OF THE WEEK: The Flying Pickle imageLunch is of course a very busy time for both the cafe and the deli, with customers coming in for their cheeses and cold meats. Jack always works out his menus a week in advance, keeping in mind what is in season and what is popular with his customers.

The Flying Pickle has also begun holding bistro evenings on Fridays and Saturdays, which attract many people from out of town. Customers at these events can expect a great variety of lamb and fish dishes, along with a range of excellent grills and steaks.

"We wanted to expand, and felt we could offer something different to the town," Jack says. "It's going okay at the moment, though we find there's not much else to draw people into town in the evenings." (We're working on that, Jack, don't you worry).

BUSINESS OF THE WEEK: The Flying Pickle imageAll seems to be going really well for Jack and The Flying Pickle. So where does he see the business in 12 months' time?

"I'm pretty happy with the direction of the cafe," he muses, "but I would like to promote the deli side of things a little more. We're also looking at branching out into web sales via our website, www.flyingpickledeli.co.uk".

We at the Portas Team wish Jack and his team every success in these ventures - and we'll be back for another coffee and cake very soon!

For more information on The Flying Pickle, clear here to see its profile in the Explore Tiverton Business Directory. Join us again next week for another Business of the Week!

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If you would like your business to appear in Business of the Week, or to be included in the Business Directory, please email mumby1988@googlemail.com or send a tweet @tivtownteam.