triangulation theory

Sunrise Farm is a family owned business; an organic Yorkshire farm shop and visitor
attraction south of York just off the A19 between York and Selby, and close by to
National cycle network route 65 which runs from Middlesborough to Hornsea. They
are an organic `pick-your-own’ fruit farm who also raise pigs and chickens, with a small
corn maze visitor attraction in the summer which includes a free ice cream for visitors.
The farm shop has an attached organic cafe.
The Graham family have farmed in the area for many years and have helped the
local community in differing ways e.g. donations, employment etc. George Graham
inherited the organic farm in the 1980s. It is a mixed farm, growing crops, vegetables,
and fruit, and with some animals (it is not a dairy farm). About 20 years ago the family
recognised the need for the family farm to diversify into other projects, as the farming
industry had become more competitive. There was adequate land for expansion.
Initially the family developed an organic farm shop, selling organic, local produce
including fruit & vegetables and meat products. A few years ago George was advised
of a new farmers campaign to help farmers market luxury produce, and he spoke with
a local butcher about developing a partnership to sell luxury cured meats. He
subsequently entered into a small partnership with the butcher and a local restaurant
to produce Yorkshire cured hams and sausages. These products are manufactured
from Sunrise Farm ingredients on the butcher’s premises and some are sold in both
the farm and butcher’s shop, while others go to supply local restaurants.
Jane Graham, George’s partner, took over responsibility for the farm shop and enjoyed
meeting the locals who visited and took advantage of her fresh organic produce. She
quickly realised that some customers travelled considerable distances for the produce
and would welcome refreshments … and Jane decided to open a café, allowing the
customer not only a retail visit but a relaxing refreshment visit! It financially added to
the cash flow of the business and proved to be successful with the community. Jane
hired staff from the local schools & Further Education College, often employing
students who struggled in school for various reasons. Jane’s staff enjoy working in the
café and this is reflected in many loyal customers who enjoy the ambience of the
organic café.
George and Jane have two children who now work in the family business. Billy, their
son, has a degree in horticulture, and three years ago developed a corn maze in one
of the fields. It has proved to be a big success with families and the local customers.
In addition to the maze Billy built an extra car park and toilet block. In fact, in 2019 it
was given a business award by the local paper & York Tourist Board for the ‘Newcomer
to the Tourist Industry’. However, it is a seasonal attraction only open in summer due
to the North Yorkshire weather! Billy has also developed the strawberry & fruit crop
and during the late spring and summer season welcomes visitors to ‘pick your own’
fruit. Jane also makes jams & chutneys for the shop with this fruit … Sunrise Jam &
Sarah, the daughter, who has completed a MSc in Global Marketing at York University,
has been travelling overseas for a year, in countries where she visited many theme
parks. She calls herself ‘an expert in roller coasters.’ She has good ideas for the
development of Sunrise Farm from a farm, a farm shop and a tourist maze. George
has also been thinking about how to expand the family business and is instead looking
into the potential for expanding their production of luxury Yorkshire foods. The family
are mindful of the success of the organisation and the limit of financial investment
which is available currently.
In reviewing the company, the family are working with the accountants to identify key
issues with the financial side of the business e.g. which parts of the business are
profitable, costs & overheads, profit & losses, wages etc. Initial feedback on these
issues has been that, like many seasonal businesses, the farm itself is often loss
making in the winter but this is currently made up for by festive sales of Sunrise Farm
produce in the shop and regular trade at the café. Investment in more food production
would involve construction of another building and additional variable costs to bring in
outside ingredients which the farm does not produce (e.g. spices, organic casings etc).
There is a need for a careful balance between staff costs and income at this time of
year. To consider the potential for diversifying the farm into a major tourism attraction
versus an expansion of food production, Sarah has taken on the role of understanding
their current customers; e.g. foot traffic, number of visitors, times of day visiting.
The family as a whole recognise the importance of the business, not only to their
customers but also the residents in the local community and potential tourists to the
area. Either development plan could support creating new jobs and revitalise the family
business for the next generation. Sarah has been given the task of researching the
viability of her development proposal. She keeps herself up to date with tourist
information (e.g. VisitBritain), local Government statistics and remembers the
academic work conducted for her post graduate degree.

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