Pioneer Foods

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  • Pioneer Foods-Wellington

    Richard Beauchamp, director of Pioneer Foods, has the recipe for more business growth.

“If only I knew then what I know now,” says Richard Beauchamp, director of Pioneer Foods, a supplier of a wide range of food and beverages to the foodservice industry and supermarkets.

He’s referring to the fact that when he started in business in 2000, he jumped in at the deep end and then figured out how to swim.

While Richard says he hasn’t any regrets, he admits it was a learning curve. In the past four years, what has really helped has been the advice of Bruce Stormer from Moore Stephens Markhams Wellington, as well as associating with like-minded business people. Formerly, Richard worked in sales for Frucor Beverages for 20 years but in 1999 when that business restructured, his contract was terminated. It was then a case of figuring out, what next?

“I was driving through Taupo and saw a popcorn business for sale in the newspaper. I thought, ‘I could do this’, so my mate and I purchased Pioneer Popcorn. I had absolutely no experience with anything like this.”

The popcorn business gained momentum. Initially, they sold to supermarkets and schools. A bigger popcorn company approached them to sell their product into video shops in Wellington. “We then bought out a contractor who sold chips and other foodstuffs to the foodservice trade so we changed our name to Pioneer Products but kept the popcorn business going as a separate entity.”

In June 2012, the name changed again to Pioneer Foods. The Porirua-based company is now a well-established beverage and food supplier, specialising in Mexican food products such as tortillas, guacamole, table sauces, salsa and Mexican beers to the foodservice trade throughout Wellington and other parts of New Zealand.

Pioneer represents 15 companies, many being smaller businesses, and sells their products into supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, schools and video outlets.

“We pride ourselves on our quality products as well as our reliability and friendly service,” says Richard.

In 2012, Pioneer Foods launched itself in Auckland, becoming a nationwide food brokerage company with 11 sales representatives to service both the North and South Islands.

In spite of his business success, Richard found there was something lacking, especially on the accounting side. “I’d never had good financial advice and I used to just let things happen. I thought, ‘the more I sell, the more I’ll make,’ but it didn’t work that way.”

He had known Bruce Stormer as a friend for 12 years, through their church in Whitby. “I knew he was a director at Moore Stephens Markhams, so I asked if I could talk to him about my business and he said, ‘Absolutely.’ Up to that point I had never done a cash flow or budget forecast.

“With Bruce’s help we can now see where our money is going and where it’s come from. It’s also in plain English so I can understand it fully, whereas before I couldn’t.”

Richard feels that at last, “We are on the track to greener pastures. I also feel relieved because I find Bruce extremely honest and I trust Moore Stephens Markhams’ business ethics. That is important to me.”

Richard also likes the fact that Bruce is readily accessible. “I know I can approach him to run ideas past; in a small business you sometimes need a sounding board. Over the past 18 months we did three major proposals for the bank. We restructured and got an investor on board. Moore Stephens Markhams has been instrumental in the re-focus and change of our business structure.

“I have a great team of five staff who have seen many changes in the company and I am sure there will be more as we continue to grow.”

Published Winter 2014.

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