snoW line success STORY

10 December 1999

snoW line success STORY

Everything has its season and at Brook Furlong Farm, winter work is proving

very rewarding. Tessa Gates visited Love and Piste to find out more

EARTH tones are in for snow boarders this year, according to dairy farmer Jon Love. "The look is tonal," he says and it comes as quite a surprise to find a farmer talking about fashion. But then not many farmers have a skiwear shop on the farm.

"My wife Julie is the driving force behind Love and Piste," explains Jon, who farms around 62ha (130 acres) at East Leake, Leics, in partnership with his wife and his mother-in-law Margaret Simpson. They have a dairy herd of 90 pedigree Holsteins. It is hard to believe that just 18 months ago calves were in the building that has been completely refurbished as a stylish shop selling and hiring specialist wear for ski and snow board enthusiasts.

The idea for the shop grew from frustration. "We love skiing but found buying ski wear for our kids horrendous," says Jon. The couple have twin six-year-old sons. "We tried to hire clothes for them and when we couldnt decided to start up ourselves."

Now they stock all the clothes needed for a family skiing trip, from babies snow suits to the full head to toe rig for both children and adults right down to thermal underwear and socks. Finding suppliers was difficult at first. "But now we have people coming to us – although anyone who was unhelpful when we were starting up, we tell to go away," says Jon.

The shop is open from Oct – Apr on Fridays and Saturdays 10am to 6pm and at other times by appointment only. The couple run the shop with the help right hand girl Jan White, and Julies mother – "she keeps us supplied with food and coffee."

Stock is in the medium price range and aimed at family and recreational skiers with the snow boarding wear more to high fashion. The hire side is proving less of a draw than expected as when people come to hire jackets for children they tend to end up buying them as they can double as super light warm school jackets for school,.

"Hopefully people can get everything they want here, apart from skis and ski-boots, without going anywhere else, " says Julie. "Families take time to choose and they can come here, park easily and shop without any fuss. We sort the childrens clothes out first and then they can play happily in our childrens corner while mum and dad try on their outfits in peace. Our market is for people looking for quality at reasonable prices."

They certainly seem to be finding it. Sales have been tremendous and the original business targets have been exceeded three times over.

"Customers come from all over and a lot of people visiting Loughborough and Nottingham Universities call in here," says Jon. The sad thing is that I can make more money on a good Saturday afternoon in the shop than I can on the farm, although I would never give up the cows."

Inquiries: telephone (01509-853944) or &#42

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