Redundancy gave Gislingham man ‘food for thought’ with new venture

Dave Harris launched Harris's Hog Roast in October 2016. Submitted photo.

Dave Harris launched Harris's Hog Roast in October 2016. Submitted photo.

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A Gislingham man has battled back from the disappointment of redundancy to realise his dream of starting his own business.

Dave Harris, of Gislingham, lost his job at Morrisons in Diss after 16 years with the company last year.

I decided had two choices — either find a new job and just carry on being an employee or I could try and do what I had always dreamed of, having my own business

Dave Harris

But it gave the 43-year-old food for thought, and he subsequently spent the summer taking business courses at NWES in Norwich, which provides business finance, funding, training and advice, and in October he launched Harris’s Hog Roast.

He says business has “been steady” so far, with at least two bookings a week until Christmas, and has been selling at farmer’s markets, Christmas fairs and shopping centres in areas including Diss, Bury and Stowmarket.

And after debuting in Diss at the farmer’s market during the Food Festival, which saw him serve more than 100 people, he now has a regular slot in the town on Thursday’s in Market Place, outside the Post Office.

“I decided had two choices — either find a new job and just carry on being an employee or I could try and do what I had always dreamed of, having my own business,” he said.

“So I spent the summer taking some business courses with NWES in Norwich, who I would thoroughly recommend to anyone thinking of starting a business go to these guys as their help, advice and support has proved to be invaluable to me in doing this.

“Yes, it is a risk but this is the same for anyone starting a new business, but I feel with the support of my family, friends and people I have met since starting up I will succeed.

“When I was at college 25 years ago I studied hospitality and said by the time I’m 40, I would like to have my own restaurant. I didn’t quite make the time frame or have a building but I’m there now cooking for people and loving it.”

A hog roast van was not the first idea Mr Harris had for a business — he had hoped to open a coffee shop but was unable to find a suitable premises.

Mr Harris, who also praised the support from Diss Town Council, added: “In 2017 I’ve already got quite a few new bookings and a lot of repeat trade from last year, which is shows I did well that they want me back again.

“My hog roast rolls have proved very popular and I’m getting a lot of repeat custom and it’s lovely to hear all the great comments people say about my rolls.

But what is his ultimate aim for his new venture?

“To be successful and provide for my family, while serving a quality product that has people coming back time and time again,” he said.