Local cheese company secures £250k MEIF investment

Lincolnshire-based cheese company, Chuckling Cheese, has secured a £250,000 investment to build its online presence and create 12 new jobs.

The company secured the finance from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), supported by the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Community Investment Enterprise Facility.

The locally produced artisan cheese company is utilising the funding to adapt its business by investing in its online presence and moving several shopping centre kiosks into stores.

It is also enabling the firm to stock more products, move warehouses and create 12 new jobs with more planned in 2021.

Picture by Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix Ltd

Owned by husband and wife team, Stuart and Emma Colclough, Chuckling Cheese’s decision to increase its online presence follows a 1,000 per cent surge in online sales during lockdown.

Stuart Colclough, founder and owner of Chuckling Cheese, said: “We’ve adapted well to the COVID-19 challenges we’ve faced and are excited to launch our new website with a ‘build your own’ hamper and subscription service thanks to the MEIF and CBILS funding boost.

“Our online sales have seen real growth this year and we now stock over 40 different cheeses, including a wide range of vegan options and a variety of flavours from our newly-launched Carnival Cheddar, with rum and pineapple, to our Hot & Spicy Cheddar for cheese lovers who like a chilli kick.”

Chuckling Cheese Advent Calendar.

Matthew Wright, investment manager at First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Chuckling Cheese Company adapt its business model during these unprecedented times. Chuckling Cheese is a fantastic small business and Stuart’s and Emma’s passion for cheese is second to none.”

Lewis Stringer, senior manager at the British Business Bank, commented: “The MEIF is committed to supporting businesses across the Midlands to innovate and grow.

“Chuckling Cheese is one of a number of companies supported by the fund that have adapted successfully to the challenges currently faced by businesses.

“We would encourage other companies in the region to consider the finance options available through the fund.”

Pat Doody, chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Chuckling Cheese is a dynamic and successful business which promotes the artisan British cheese sector from its base in Skegness to the rest of the UK.

“This is another great Lincolnshire food business that is expanding and adding to Lincolnshire’s national reputation for food production.”