If you’d have asked our founding members, way back in 1994, if they’d have anticipated that their aspirational coffee dreams, from within a garden shed, would evolve into a multi-million pound roasting and packing facility, supplying coffee across the UK and Europe, they may have thought it was a little far-fetched.
Today, however, such humble beginnings are what gives the company a great sense of balance and perspective. Moreover, there is an even stronger sense of recognition and appreciation for those who’ve been a part of the journey from the outset.
Lincoln & York’s roots are powered by its people. The foundations of the firm are still in place, thanks to the ongoing commitment and service of our staff. And it’s recently come to our attention that six staff, in particular, have accumulated over a century of service between them; we believe this requires celebration.
“After starting life as a packer at Lincoln & York, it wasn’t long before I trained as a machine operator, earning a reputation as one of the most reliable and punctual employees in the factory. As I’m always here 30 minutes before my shift starts; it gives me that extra time to organise my duties and liaise with colleagues. Perhaps that’s why I’m the longest serving machine operator and have trained more machine operators than I’ve had hot dinners! My crowning glory has to be the fact that I’ve attended every single one of Lincoln & York’s Christmas parties they’ve ever had! My other defining aspect has to be my overuse of the phrase ‘how come right..’ which many people thought was a Welsh town, and not me about to ask a question!”
Deborah Laughton (Machine Operator) , Started 1998
“I remember my first day well. It was back in 2000, the millennium year. I’d started as a packer, like many do, but it wasn’t long before I moved on to grinding. By 2004 I left grinding behind to try my hand in the roastery. It was here where I began to immerse myself in the industry, having gained some valuable experience. I enjoyed the coffee making process and soon discovered the green bean area. I morphed into a new role here and wanted to learn even more. That’s when I became qualified as a Q grader, learning the entire process from bean to cup. The knowledge I’ve acquired helps me to perform my job to a high standard. My role now is to ensure there’s enough green coffee to keep us running smooth, as well as unlocking other magical secrets in the dark arts of roasting!”
Tom Altoft (Green Bean Co-ordinator), Started 2000
“I first began my Lincoln & York adventure in the August of 2000. My role was ‘Head of Finance’ which was appropriate, considering the department was made up of me, and only me. My office, or should I say broom closet, didn’t have a window, and I shared it with one other person. It was hot, dark and claustrophobic, but I was felt lucky. The job has drastically changed, since then. People have come and gone, my team has evolved, but I’ve always had incredible support. As the financial structure broadened, along with the company, I began to work with other ancillary companies. My role had gone from doing the day-to-day finances, to managing a team of people to assist me in my role. Each year I’ve spent here has been contrastingly different but one thing has always remained consistent: the people. Both inside the company, and the industry itself, is full of exceptional people. At times I’ve been tested, yet always found my work enjoyable. The only thing I don’t enjoy, still, is having my photograph taken, as you’ll see from my absence in photo above.”
Nigel Bean (Finance Controller), Started 2000
“Having already gained valuable experience of stock control and pick packing for Tupperware, I began my Lincoln & york journey as a relief roaster and machine operator. After a colleague left in stock control and logistics, I opted to try my hand in that department. After being handed over the bare minimum of information to fulfil my role, I took it upon myself to transform this area of the business. So, for the last 15 years I’ve been developing the systems and my role, which is now responsible for purchasing over 600 different items! The only negative would be that of James’ habit of feeding us biscuits, which has meant a pound or three gained along the way!”
Kirsty Wilson (Purchasing & Logistics), Started 2001
“My Lincoln & York career began as a packer. As I grew into this role, I developed an interest in other aspects of the business. After leaving the product packing conveyor belt, I tried my hand at label design. I enjoyed this role but soon found myself distracted by the machine operating side of the business. This led to a role within roasting, which transformed itself into my job title being ‘Planner’. I suppose, the knowledge and expertise I’d gathered from various roles allowed me to understand the operation and the direction in which it was heading. To make my, and the company’s life easier, I introduced a new software system to sustain the rapid growth we were experiencing. I must add, at this point, it was tea drinking which fuelled me along the way, and not coffee, believe it or not! My role now is to develop and improve existing system and to oversee production planning and new product development; it’s great as I get to see and influence lots of elements of the business. The opportunities I’ve had here, I will always be grateful for.”
Joanna Grigs (Production Planner), Started 2003
“When I started I was 18 years old. Straight out of college with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I started off packing on the lines. There were only 6 packing lines and 2 small roasters at the time, some of which are still in use today.During the early days, I learned to run some of the packing lines that we had, as well as learning to roast, and picking up my forklift truck license along the way. I was unmarried with no children, when I started. Then by the time 2009 came around, I decided to get married, at a time when my wife was expecting our third child, and, of course at the time when the company decided to move building. I remember 2009 being a very hectic year! After the move, new packing lines were installed which I learned to run. After that, I was put in the roasting department, as things started to change and the business continued to grow. When Ian started, he saw potential of a new role being developed and made me the supervisor of the roasting department. Over time it grew into a larger role and I became factory supervisor, overseeing the overall production that goes on throughout the business. I am now 34, I have a house and family and I am just starting a course to gain more qualifications so that I can progress both personally and professionally. And admittedly I do have a little less hair than I started with!”
Dave King (Roasting Supervisor) , Started 2003