- Sector: Retail
- Region: North West England
When the M6 was built through their hill farm in Cumbria, the Dunning family could have been forgiven for being unhappy about it. Instead they turned the arrival of the motorway into an opportunity by opening Tebay Services, a small 30-seat café serving home cooked, locally sourced food. Tebay Services became the UK’s first family-run motorway service station when it opened in 1972 – and the family has been running service stations with a difference ever since.
CEO Sarah Dunning says of the business, Westmorland: “We are a food business that happens to operate in the roadside services industry. Our principal motorway service areas have no franchises, but instead have a farm shop and a kitchen. We produce all our own food for our kitchens and our farm shops enable us to work with many small artisan producers from the surrounding area and beyond. The cornerstone of our approach is building businesses from their local area.”
“We are a food business that happens to operate in the roadside services industry. The cornerstone of our approach is building businesses from their local area” - Sarah Dunning, CEO, Westmorland
It’s an approach that has paid off. Westmorland now employs 1000 people and in 2014 it opened its second site – Gloucester Services on the M5. Following the model set by Tebay, the service station works with 130 producers within a 30 mile radius and 70 regional producers. “It’s well known for its food,” says Sarah. “Built adjacent to the beautiful Cotswold escarpment, it is also a building that has won a number of architectural awards.”
The business has also opened a Tebay Services Hotel and the Junction 38 Services, which is a mile from Tebay Services, is aimed specifically at truck and coach drivers.
70 - The number of local food producers that Westmorland is partnering with
“Our key focus is on creating a unique offer in the industry in which we operate and having a positive impact on our customers, producers, colleagues and our local communities,” says Sarah. “We are not interested in growth for growth’s sake, but we are looking at some exciting development opportunities, both in
our existing businesses and beyond.”