Hi Everyone … thank you for visiting our page!
We are a small business based in Nantwich, Cheshire. Clem’s is run by Business Partners Claire & Remi (abbreviate our names and you have Clem’s!) This website was created in Spring 2020 but our roots go back many more years … right back to the early 1960s!
If you are resident in Nantwich, Crewe or Sandbach or Winsford, you may remember Griffiths’s Greengrocers (Claire’s Dad, Ken)? Having started with an egg round, then adding on fruit & veg in the 60’s with a customised delivery van, then he then set up some great market stalls before moving into 6 town centre shops. The biggest shop in that chain was in Pepper Street in Nantwich, where he occupied the space that was previously Kwik Save.
Then after 8 years of working in Marketing, Claire faced a Voluntary Redundancy situation which she took. By that time Remi was working for Ken, helping him out and he presented an opportunity to take a stall on in our own right. We did it! We were so grateful for his help but it transpired that our thinking didn’t quite align sometimes and it became evident that we were creating our own way forward which formed the basis of what you see today from us, and we created Clem’s in 2003.
2003 – 2019
We had great success at most places we traded at for some years. We worked 5 straight days … long days … hard days. The schedule was punishing but we were young and fit and we did it! Then the town centres started to change .. some declined quite rapidly with the introduction of out of town retail parks, extra supermarkets, online deliveries and so forth … we struggled to compete and it all became so much harder. We saw things had to change to but just couldn’t see a clear way forward for a long time because it meant making changes to our business we didn’t know how to do! We could no longer rely on our usual approach … in some places it just stopped working because of how Retail and people had changed. Our position at Wholesale became problematic, as it was with all small traders there … we saw other retailers AND wholesalers going bust and it all became very stressful and faced several breaking points ourselves … but we just kept going somehow.
August 2019 to Christmas 2019
A pivotal time for us. We were at another breaking point by the end of the Summer 2019 as it let us down with poor weather when we needed the usual boost of Summer takings. Then Clem’s buddy Natalie Thomas asked for a £15 mixed box as she could never make it to our Nantwich stall on a Saturday. She shared it with delight on her Facebook page … then her friends started to try and guess what was in the paper bags … then started asking where she got it from! We thought “Hey, this might be a way forward?!” and tried a few posts on Nantwich Community Facebook Page and got a really good response! … BINGO!! This was the birth of the Mystery Box Club which started to save us. Little did we know what was lurking around the corner in 2020 …..
March 2020: CoronaVirus!
OMG! Boy did that hit us round the chops!
By that time, we’d established the Box delivery side of the business a LITTLE BIT! and set up a basic website, but it went from 90 boxes a week to over 450, within the space of a few weeks of the World going mad! We had to draft in extra staff pronto. If it hadn’t been for 3 people we got on board to help us out with admin and our systems and processes, then we would have drowned! Special thanks to local superstars, Bev Stevens, Vicky Higham-Smith & Andy Garnett. All helped us in their own time, with answering your messages and emails, order details, website developments, our delivery spreadsheet and so on.
And not forgetting Stephen Robinson of www.smrsocial.com who designed the website and had an unholy Mother of a job to resolve software conflicts with the web developers when we introduced subscriptions. It literally messed up everything to start with! The website grew bigger legs than we had trousers for, a bit like an American Basketball player going through school … but we all kept working really hard to tackle the issues.
We were over the moon to be recognised by the organisers of Nantwich Food Festival by winning the award for Business Positivity in their Lockdown Awards 2020.
September 2020 onwards:
Yes, it all calmed a bit! Subscriptions software was still causing us some problems but we were slowly getting on top of it all and our internal planning structure was so much better!
We care very much about getting your boxes right. Our experience and continuing to observe what customers are buying at the weekend from our stalls helps a lot. We like to think that this, together with the ability for YOU to tailor your own boxes, makes our service work so well and is what makes us a really good box provider.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting our business!
Claire & Remi