Hayling Island pair set up shop to boost their baked potato business Jacket Required
A JACKET potato business is preparing to open its new premises in Hayling Island.
Delivery service Jacket Required will welcome hungry customers at 18b Elm Grove, formerly a pharmacy.
There is not yet an official opening date, but the team behind the business hope to be open by the end of March.
Jacket Required, which was launched in May 2020, offers potatoes with a range of homemade fillings, using local produce where possible.
The business is run by Maddison Kimber, along with her sister Abbie, and Ellie Langton, their brother Liam’s girlfriend.
During the first lockdown, the team decided to form a food delivery business to serve their local community in Hayling Island.
Maddie said: ‘The business is a lot more popular than we thought.
‘We’ve had some amazing feedback - people are very loyal, we’ve got a lot of regulars.
‘The most popular dish changes with the weather. At the moment it’s BBQ chicken, and in the summertime, it’s tuna.’
Now, the Jacket Required team are looking forward to their new site opening, and developments at the Mengham premises are underway.
Maddie added: ‘We just hope to have the shop open soon - all electrics have been done, so’s the gas, and now it needs painting.’
The 22-year-old, a dancer, has had to overcome a number of challenges over the last few years.
After winning a place at the Jonathan Wilkes Dance Academy in Swindon at the age of 18, Maddie performed in pantomimes across the country, as well as teaching dance to earn some extra cash.
However, while she was pursuing her career, the loss of Maddie’s family’s business, which had been operating for 25 years, meant that Maddie had to rely on grants and other financial support to continue her progress at the academy.
Maddie’s mum also began to suffer from mental illness, and in February 2019 the family suffered a double bereavement when both of Maddie’s grandads died within four days of each other - one from a long battle with cancer, and the other from an unexpected heart condition.
When the coronavirus outbreak hit the country, Maddie found her academy career suspended - a huge disappointment as this was an important year of her training. Her graduation, agent appointments, and work on cruise ships and shows were all cancelled.
Despite her misfortune, Maddie picked herself up and adapted to her new situation.
Dad Dean Kimber said: “A lot of people would be overcome by everything that happened, but Maddie really picked up the baton.”
Returning from Swindon to her family home in Hayling Island, Maddie began supporting her mum by helping with cooking, shopping and housework, and applied for a position at Northharbour Tesco.
The pandemic also inspired Maddie, along with Ellie, who is also 22, and Abbie, 17, to launch their business.
Maddie said: ‘My dad joked about starting a food business for years - he thought of doing pies.
‘We just thought food’s the best thing to do during the pandemic.’
Dean - who came up with the business’s name - said: ‘We first thought about this five or six years ago, but never really took it further than talking about it. Lots of things were going on at the time.
‘But then lockdown came and people began having to do takeaways, and the need for delivery services really took over.’
Open from Monday to Friday, Jacket Required offers lunchtime and evening orders.
Free delivery is offered within Hayling and Langstone, with a £1 delivery charge past Langstone.
Maddie still works at Tesco and runs remote dance classes in the evening alongside Jacket Required.
She said: ‘It’s hard to balance all of this, but I’m proud of managing to do everything and keeping going.’
Jacket Required also works with charities, and has a partnership with The Donkey Sanctuary.
Maddie said: ‘We support Hayling community services which covers support for all ages of the island.
‘We also deliver to the NHS, offering free deliveries to St Mary’s for the last four months, and we hope to keep this going.’
Aside from more charity work, the team at Jacket Required are excited to see how their business will develop when their new store front opens.
Maddie said: ‘I’d love for the shop to become well-known - maybe even open up in different areas.
‘We are also looking for government or business grants, or low cost small business loans.’
Dean said: ‘I’m massively proud of all three of them.
‘Since March they’ve been working at Tesco, working the most unsociable hours - Maddie particularly, going in at three in the morning while still trying to complete her dance academy online and dealing with a sensitive situation at home. She’s had a lot to deal with.
‘Youngsters don’t quite get the credit they deserve. For such young people to take this initiative - I’m very proud of them.’
Visit the Jacket Required website at jacketrequiredhayling.com