Our story here in Gloucester has its roots 200 miles north of this place in the rolling uplands of Cumbria. In 1972, Cumbrian farmers John and Barbara Dunning set up Tebay Services in partnership with local bakers when the new M6 cut through the Lune Gorge. It was the first and is still the only family run motorway service station on the UK road network - it’s heart was a small 30 seat café serving home cooked, locally sourced food.
Forty years on and we are still here, still family owned, still farming and still with a fierce passion for, and a pride in, our landscape, our people, our environment and its products. So much so that it has gone on to inspire us to innovate and find new ways of creating business opportunities in the most unlikely of locations - on the side of a motorway.
So now we have moved south. Located between junctions 11a and 12 of the M5, on the outskirts of Gloucester, Gloucester Services are the newest addition to the Westmorland Family of businesses.
Whatever and wherever our businesses are, we think the most important thing about them is that they are rooted in their place. In Cumbria, because of our history, that is a given. But when we started thinking that we might like to create a ‘sister’ service area perhaps elsewhere in the country, we knew that our greatest challenge would be rooting it in its place.
With Gloucester, we felt we could do just that for two reasons. Firstly, the opportunity originated in Gloucestershire, from Mark Gale, CEO of Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, who wanted to find a means of creating sustainable income to go back into local communities; and the partnership we have set up with the Trust should do just that - we intend to donate a percentage of our sales each year back into the community.
Secondly, because we are a food business, and Gloucestershire and its surrounding counties are practically unrivalled in the quality and abundance of their food produce, we have been able to put together a fabulous offer which rivals its northern sister.
Ultimately, we know that if we stand still we start to move backwards. While we celebrate and are inspired by our heritage and roots, like generations of hill farmers before us, we understand that to survive and ultimately to thrive, we must continue to innovate, keep our ‘family’ and community close and always believe in what we do.