The origins of A.F. Blakemore & Son Ltd date back to 1917, when Arthur Blakemore opened a 350sq ft counter service store in Wolverhampton.

A.F. Blakemore has grown considerably over the past century and now employs around 5,500 people with a turnover in excess of £1.1 billion per year. Despite this expansion, the company remains a family run business and is now in its third generation of ownership.

Despite this huge growth over the last 100 years, Blakemore’s has always remained true to its roots and this is evidenced by the fact that five years ago, it set up a new operation called Heart Distribution.

Commercial Manager Caoire Blakemore explains. “We were approached by a group of local food producers from the Heart of England to see if we could help them with getting their product to market.We were able to take the systems we have in place and create a new business, Heart Distribution, in response to this request. Today, we have 124 local food and drink producers from the Heart of England – Staffordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and the West Midlands.”

These suppliers and producers come in many shapes and sizes – husband and wife operations offering hand-made products right up to nationally recognised brands. Heart Distribution works with each and every one of these companies without prejudice, their customers are serviced by the Heart operation as an extended office and wheels of the producer, allowing them to maintain full control of the relationship and ultimately their own businesses.. Heart is totally transparent with the producers that they work with so that they know who their customers are, what products they takeand when.. In this way, Mid-Counties Co-operative are one of Heart’s biggest customers as Heart supplies to 197 of their stores.

Caoire continues,

“The big advantage from the supplier’s point of view is that they gain access to a food distribution operation that has been built up over 100 years. Heart Distribution is not a big company – there are just six of us, including two telesales ladies who call all of our customers every week. From the supplier’s point of view, they then get a first class service at reduced cost, as the customer will see just ‘One order, One Invoice and One delivery’. We have three of our own branded delivery vehicles but we can also call upon the whole of the Blakemore fleet if necessary. This is another asset for the food producer as they have the strength of the Blakemore family wrapped around their business – they can do what they do best – produce – and we can do the rest.”

We try and make the network as easy as possible for customers to use, with a consolidated operation they only have one minimum order requirement to meet – £100 over 3,000 chilled ambient and frozen product lines.

“Blakemore’s have invested about £1 million in setting up this unique service to helping local suppliers. We are a support network for local food and drink producers. We have just won a Business in the Community Big Tick Award for Heart Distribution’s work that we have done with the local businesses.”

For further information please telephone 01902 308996 or visit


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