A QUARTET of women have been appointed to key roles by a food wholesaler in a drive to increase turnover to £50 million over the next two years.

Harlech Foodservice, based at Chester and Criccieth, have made the appointments to ensure the company is in position to dramatically increase sales when final Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The ambitious expansion plan has seen it recruit two new category managers and create the new role of customer experience manager to boost customer relations.

In addition, account manager of seven years Ceri Brown has been promoted to marketing manager.

Managing director David Cattrall said: “We wanted the new team to be in place in readiness for when tourism and hospitality starts to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased.

“It is part of a major restructuring which has included quadrupling online sales since upgrading our website and helping customers manage unpredictable demand by introducing an ‘order up to 10pm for next day delivery’ service.

“These appointments are essentially investing in future expansion.

The new team includes a real high-flier in Ceri Brown who has sky-dived in Australia and bungee jumped in Yorkshire.

Ceri, 39, of Mynytho, on the Llyn, has a degree in events management and later worked for the four-star QHotels group before joining Harlech Foodservice.

She said: “I feel like this is my home turf in more ways than one. I love North Wales, my family are here and the company is brilliant to work for. I felt at home immediately.

“I was a sales and account manager and loved the opportunities it gave me to develop customer relationships and increase sales. Those experiences are now invaluable as marketing manager.

"The first project was involved in was relaunching the ice cream category this summer and I’m really proud that this has been our best performing category since May – customers tell me they love the improved range and season-long pricing."

Joining the team are new recruits Clare Hulme and Claire Campbell as category managers.

Claire Campbell, who has paraglided in Turkey and climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge, said: “I’m all for pushing boundaries and expanding my comfort zone. That’s why I can’t wait to get to grips with my role here at Harlech Foodservices.”

Claire, 47, from Mold, joined from Iceland frozen foods and added: “I liked my job immensely but a new challenge beckoned and I was impressed by what I was hearing about Harlech Foodservice and its ambitions to expand into the North West.”

She and her new colleague Clare Hulme will both be based with a small team in the company’s new offices at Chester Business Park and spending time in head office in Criccieth.

Claire, who has also worked for supermarket giant Tesco, said: “The idea really appealed to me of starting a new project almost from zero with a dedicated team of co-workers taking the company significantly forward. It is a perfect step up for me in my career.

“We’re all really chomping at the bit now to make a positive difference for our customers.”

Claire will oversee the ambient products, including dry goods, hygiene products, and PPE materials, with the aim of developing the category, reviewing the range, reducing costs, nurturing new and existing customer relations and ensuring a smooth-running supply chain.

She will work alongside Clare Hulme, 53, from Wallasey, who joins Harlech Foodservices from multi-retailer product provider The Appreciate Group and whose career roles have included working with the Co-op and Park Hampers.

Clare, who has a business studies degree from Liverpool John Moores University, will take charge of the frozen foods, ice creams and chilled goods categories and her focus will also be on developing the range while minimising costs and driving the Harlech Foodservice reputation into the North West.

The new customer experiences manager is Leah Adams, 39, who moves from her role as territory account manager after joining the company in 2016 after returning to North Wales from Oxfordshire.

Leah, from Nefyn, said: “It is a new role but an extremely important one as happy customers are vital to the success of the company.

“My role is to be the voice of the customer within the business and ensure colleagues provide an excellent service.

“I will ensure we never forget their needs and always listen carefully to their feedback. I look forward to developing some long-lasting working relationships, keeping customers fully informed and implementing a successful two-way communications policy with all our existing customers and potential new clients.”

Harlech Foodservice Ltd employs around 200 staff at its bases at Criccieth and Chester and between the two locations, the company runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver more than 10,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.