A EUROPEAN food wholesaler is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, marking the occasion with a move to larger premises.
La Espanola started two decades ago in the kitchen of business partners Raul and Sue Aguado.
After ordering their first pallet in 1997, they filled their kitchen with tomatoes, olives and oil and began pitching to local restaurants.
The company grew rapidly and, soon enough, the pair found themselves moving into their first site in Havant.
La Espanola started out selling Spanish goods but now stocks food from all over the world including Mexican, Oriental and French cuisine to chefs and trade buyers throughout the UK.
Raul and Sue are keen to stress that they sell more than ‘just olives’.
As the company expanded, the owners decided to produce and sell their own range of food products.
Due to demand, the team have just moved into a much larger premises in Hilsea.
Raul said: ‘To be celebrating 20 years is fantastic.
‘Sue and I are so proud.
‘We’re running a business but, unlike the big commercial companies, it isn’t all about money.
‘Since I was young I have always been passionate about food. If you come to my house, I will cook you food and say “try this, eat that” and I will see you happy.
‘I want to make people happy. That brings me so much joy.
‘I want a chef to open a packet of our food and say: “yes, that is amazing food.”
‘I want them to be as excited about cooking as I am.’
General manager Jason Gould said he loves the firm.
He said: ‘When I met Raul and Sue I fell in love with the way that they do business.
‘I’ve worked here for 10 years now and they genuinely treat their staff like family.
‘We’re the happiest employees and well looked after.
‘Our families socialise outside of work.
‘We know we would struggle to find better bosses than Raul and Sue.’