A Southwick food business run by a husband and wife team is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Steve and Liz Pearce launched Southover Foods together in 1989, three years into their marriage.
The couple had been weighing up whether to move to Australia, but decided to put their funds into starting up their own small business instead.
Three decades on, the company has grown into an award-winning distributor, wholesaler and manufacturer of locally sourced cooked meats, food and drinks.
Looking back, Steve said: “There’s been lots of ups and downs over the years and lots of challenges.”
Coming from five generations of butchers, Steve learnt all about the meat trade from his father.
Southover Foods started out specialising in cooked meats for distribution across the Brighton area, with Liz handling the finance side of the operation.
Over the years the business has diversified to provide a range of speciality foods including cheeses, savoury goods, drinks, condiments, vegetables, cakes and soups.
From its base in Brighton Road, the company caters to businesses of all sizes, from small shops to national chains.
As far as possible, it sources food locally from around Sussex – working with businesses including Higgidy Pies, which is based just down the road.
From a team of two, the company has grown to consist of 40 employees – some of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years.
Both of Steve and Liz’s daughters, one of whom was born just two weeks after the business was launched, have worked for the company.
The couple, who live in Ditchling having previously lived in other parts of Sussex including Seaford and Patcham, have been married for 33 years and have always worked side by side.
Steve said of working with his wife: “It’s brilliant.”
Going forward, the pair said they hoped that Brexit would be out of the way soon, adding that the last two years had been tough because of the uncertainty it had brought. The couple have no plans to retire and are continuing to build on their success, having just launched their first product designed specifically for retailers and consumers.
Visit www.southoverfoods.com to find out more.