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Miss your Marmite?

If you miss your Marmite, don't worry, help is at hand! The Full Monty talk to Quest Bulgaria about their British food importation venture ...

... The Full Monty (ful monti) is to describe something that impresses you because it includes everything that you could possible expect it to include. ‘There was everything from simple piano to a full orchestral finish.’ (The Full Monty).

The Full Monty BG is a premier provider of quality goods to British Expatriates living and working in Bulgaria. We would also like to introduce the Bulgarian community to our wonderful succulent British food. In fact, we serve anyone who wants to buy our products.

The formation of the business was far from straightforward. Last year was when the company was initially planned to open, but on advice from the Bulgarian customs, this was delayed until after Bulgaria joined the EU in January 2007. However, this decision was under the presumption that importing from the UK would be less fraught after EU entry.

Numerous ideas for shop premises were discussed, including the conversion of a renovated barn in Resen. This idea came about after looking at many properties in the centre of Veliko Turnovo and seeing the large amounts of rent being bandied about for such properties.

We were then advised to use a local hygiene inspector to advise on regulations. After several appointments with the inspector, something appeared to be not quite right, and on further investigation it transpired that the inspector was retired and not even qualified to give advice on regulations for the shop premises. After we had paid a large amount of money for the inspector’s services, we then had to begin the long road to reclaiming the money. After many meetings, the company who had advised us to use the inspector did the chivalrous thing and reimbursed all monies paid for his illicit services.

Months passed, and we were still without premises until we eventually came across the new property in Resen. It was a relatively small property, but with all the required necessities and permissions for selling food. We are now officially in business and looking to sell our products to not only the British contingent, but also to anyone, Bulgarian or other who would like to try the wares. Many grocery items are available, with new items joining the list regularly.

Also in the pipeline is a full range of everyday greeting cards and hopefully a nice range of Christmas cards will be in progress later in the year. In addition, other ideas are being talked about with regard to other lines being introduced.

As the name suggests, the hope for the future is that The Full Monty will have not only food products, but various other things available to you. With the website now up and running and orders coming in, the hope is that many new customers will be placing orders for products on the internet to be delivered. This eases the need for a conventional shop premise and is going more down the road of an internet based company, although the shop will still be an integral part of the company and we have no plans to close this side of the business.

After all, one of the delights of the business, as the two couples concur, is the ability to meet new people on a regular basis and discuss the pros and cons of working and living in Bulgaria from another person’s perspective. Any home deliveries by the company will be made in person by Totty, Jools, Steve or Simon where at all possible, as the team like to know their customers and would like to think of as many of them as possible as friends, as well as clients.

Looking back, the setting up of The Full Monty has been a long and sometimes arduous task. As the four of us say, there have been times when we wondered if it would be worth all the effort, but we can now see a future for the company and hope that anyone with a true fancy for British food will give us a call or visit the website because after all, the reason for doing this was to supply a demand and give people here in Bulgaria what they want.