In 2009 Robin Goram retired early from a successful but stressful role as a director of one of Norfolk’s major food and associated companies.
He knew he could never be a “thumb-twiddler” and one day, for something to do, he took chainsaw and axe to a load of logs, and sold the firewood to friends and neighbours. The rest, as they say, is history.
Within six years, Flaming Good Firewood, based at Frostrow Farm on the B1108 between Watton and Hingham at Scoulton, had become one of the larger suppliers of firewood and premium wood products in East Anglia, buying in 1200 tonnes of forestry timber to service customers throughout the busy winter period.
“The business just took off and rapidly developed from a small cottage industry to keep myself occupied into what it is today”, said Robin.
Robin and his wife Margaret were joined by two other directors, self-employed builder Mark Campbell and his wife Cindy.
For the first three years Flaming Good Firewood grew at a rate of 40%pa, all the while investing in plant and machinery to keep pace with demand. Falling oil prices and mild winters saw overall sales slow down over the next two years, but the customer base has continued to grow at a rapid rate, word-of-mouth recommendations by happy clients bringing many new customers.
“And once customers come to us they stay with us. Our retention rate is 80-85%”, said Robin. “That’s because we only use best quality raw materials to produce a premium product.”
“We never turn anyone away. We’ll cut to any size the customer wants and deliver it in any quantity and in any way, shape or form they require – from net bags to full articulated lorry load.”
“We love what we do. It’s a labour of love – if we didn’t enjoy it we wouldn’t do it. In six years I’ve invested over £100,000 in the business but I’ve never taken a regular income or wage from the business. We’re still expanding and we’re looking to do more and more”, said Robin.
The business employs up to four additional staff on a seasonal and contract basis.