Wooden Hill Coffee - Following Your Passion
Back in December, I made my way over to Ampthill where I spoke to Robin and got the story behind the business that is Wooden Hill Coffee.
Not just coffee, but coffee culture
Approximately 15 years ago, Robin found himself spending a year down under - as part of his travels he got a job in a café and through 5 months of working there quickly found a love for not just coffee, but coffee culture.
On moving back home he found that UK cafés were years behind their Australian counterparts, so with his new found passion and an eye for opportunity he got a job managing a café in Stratford Upon Avon.
The perfect job opportunity
While working for the café, he found himself envying the role of a supplier rep who he saw as having the perfect job, going round to all the café’s and getting to drink in each whilst chatting to the owners & staff. One day the rep told him that she was leaving and looking for a replacement so Robin seized the opportunity and became the new rep for the famous Italian coffee brand Illy.
This turned out to be a great move and he spent 12 years with the business rising up in to the ranks of management. As he became more senior though he spent less and less time working with the coffee and cafe culture he had first enjoyed so much. It was time for a change.
Working with other local businesses, you realise how much everyone cares
In 2015 he took destiny into his own hands and set up Wooden Hill Coffee, with the aim of getting back into coffee and becoming a distributor for all the local independent cafés he loved to visit. Starting with the area he specialised in; distribution, he quickly built up a loyal customer base of mostly independent local business’ and found himself enjoying the role of working locally. One of the things he finds best about working with other local businesses’ is how much people care about each other, if a shipment is late you don’t get an angry call, you get an empathetic one asking if you’re okay, people think about you as well as themselves.
Roasting all his own coffee
Looking for new opportunities to get his brand out there, he managed to get his products stocked on the local milkround and in 2018 the opportunity came up to get some space in one of their units. Starting as a distributor, Robin always knew he wanted Wooden Hill to roast it’s own blends, so in 2018 he took the final steps and used the space to set up his own roastery. With the strategy of focusing on the brand and the customers, this proved a buzzing success and with the benefit of his unit having a south facing yard, he set up his own café, meaning the culture he loves is now right on his doorstep.
When he started the business, Robin didn’t intend to hire people, however due to the organic growth he has now taken on 2 local full timers, including Joe who has become a barista in only 3 months. What Robin is most proud of is how he has managed to create a great customer focused brand where both employees and customers get to have fun.
You can find Wooden Hill Coffee’s Range at our website or for the full experience he’s crafted you can visit the Wooden Hill Café near Ampthill.