15 minutes with… Andy Grinsell, Blakemore Wholesale

Cerelie Doyle speaks to Blakemore Wholesale’s wholesale operations director Andy Grinsell about the best bits of his 26-year career.

What are your favourite things about the wholesale industry?

For me, I would say it is the business relationships that we have with customers and watching them grow. That’s a massive plus point for us. It’s something you can’t do if you work for the big chains.

What are the secrets of your success?

I just grab every opportunity that comes my way. I have been with Blakemore for 26 years now and have had a variety of different roles. I started part-time and took anything that came up. I also reflect on my mistakes and I have the will to change when I need to.

What was your first job?

It was back in July 1988, I worked at Wolverhampton Cash & Carry. I had literally just left school – I was only 17. I was a part-time checkout operator and shop floor assistant. I always remember it because we had some really good weather so within two weeks I went from working part-time to full-time.

Tom Hardy
Tom – not Oliver- Hardy
Which star would play you in the film of your life?

I would like to say Tom Hardy, but it would probably be Oliver Hardy, for people who are old enough to remember him. If you Google Tom Hardy and see what he has done as an actor, and then look at Oliver Hardy, you will see where I am coming from.

What do you do outside work?

I love the gym and catching up with the lads, watching the football down at the pub. Me and my wife also have a couple of dogs, so we like walking them down on the beach. We have a red setter and a beagle. One is very energetic – you just can’t tire her out.

Who is your role model?

My father – he passed away 19 months ago. He worked in the steel and building industry. He had four children and four grand-children, who all equally adored him, and he always put them – along with my mum – first, before anything he wanted to do. He taught me the value of family and to not spend what you haven’t got.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I would like to grow and develop Blakemore Wholesale as an expanding business, both in the wholesale sector and in the foodservice depots. I want us to be known as a key player within these sectors. I see us developing further and I’d like to be a key part of that.

Is there anything you’d like to do that you haven’t had the chance to?

I would like to travel more. It’s one of those things mentioned around Christmas when we have had a few glasses of wine. I have been with the company 26 years now, so I’m on sabbatical. This means I get an extra month’s holiday, and travelling is definitely something I’d like to do.

What do you carry to work each day?

Just mundane things: a laptop bag and car keys. I have a little bit of pocket money, so I can get myself a coffee and a bit of lunch. But I also walk out in the morning with a purpose, a focus and most days with a smile.


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