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Some people have an entrepreneurial mindset that exists even when their careers are on a different path. It’s a brave move to step away from employment to follow that inner desire to own a business, but it can also be hugely rewarding.

Having worked in retail from the age of 17 and become manager of several stores, Jon Oakes decided to leave at the age of 30 to start his own business, Feast and the Furious in Melton Mowbray.

“My main hobby was BBQ and smoking, so I thought my USP could be authentic American BBQ,” Jon began.

“This was very little known in the UK in 2017, so I started a food truck. I was self-taught and whenever I was cooking for other people, they would say how good it was and that is was better than anything they had had elsewhere. They said I should sell it, so that was my reason and driving factor to combine my love for food and BBQ/smoking with my desire to run my own business, leveraging the skills I had learnt from my many years in retail management.”

A smokehouse and smokery based in Melton Mowbray, Feast and the Furious serve hot food from their new fixed location, including smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs.

“We also smoke a range of cold smoked goods such as smoked cheeses, butter, nuts, garlic, salmon and more which we sell at our smokehouse as well as at markets, events and online,” Jon continued.

“We also sell linked products such as hot and cold smoking equipment for people to do it themselves at home, and recently launched courses that we host at the smokehouse to learn further how to smoke at home. We also offer catering for private events such as weddings and corporate as well as wholesale of our products to cafes, delis and shops.”

“We can’t recommend them enough to any business that is seeking funding or thinking of expanding. It’s invaluable and they are a lovely organisation to deal with.”

Jon Oakes

When the time came to look for finance options in order to move from a food truck and small unit to a bricks and mortar smokehouse, Jon discovered The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.

“We spoke to someone at a business hub who I mentioned the Charity for the grants initially, and when we were unsuccessful with the grant application we found out about the loans that could be provided.”

Available up to £20,000, STWLC’s business loans are interest-free for nine years, with nothing to repay in the first three years, giving small businesses time to establish before equal monthly repayments commence.

“We used the loan to help towards the cost of a brand-new cold smoker, as well as towards the other building works of the smokehouse,” Jon recounted.

“Although there is paperwork to complete and we needed two guarantors for the loan amount we were asking for, it was all worth it for the loan and the terms that come with it, such as having three years before repayments start which is invaluable.

“Without the funding and terms of the STWLC loan, we would have struggled with securing enough finance to fund the project fully and on time,” Jon concluded.

“We would have had to take on high repayment terms which could have made the project unviable, so it came at just the right time and we can’t recommend them enough to any business that is seeking funding or thinking of expanding. It’s invaluable and they are a lovely organisation to deal with.”

To find out more about Feast and the Furious, please visit feastandthefurious.co.uk

For more information about STWLC’s interest-free business loans, please click here

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