Friday, 8 April 2011

The Venus Company - loving the beach...

We love the West Country, and being environmentally aware comes naturally. So when we heard of a local, forward-thinking organisation who was championing these principles, we were keen to know more.

The Venus Company has six environmentally friendly and socially responsible cafés, five in stunning beachside locations in south Devon and north Cornwall - Blackpool Sands, East Portlemouth, Bigbury-on-Sea, Tolcarne and Watergate Bay – and their most recent enterprise at the Shops at Dartington centre near Totnes.

Their cafés are renowned for their delicious menus of quality, locally sourced organic food and drink, whether you’re eating in or taking away. From full English breakfasts and beef burgers to paninis, salads and cream teas, Venus caters for gluten-free, vegetarian and meat lovers alike and children are made very welcome. Blackpool Sands also has a restaurant where alfresco, Mediterranean-style evening dining is available and special occasions can be catered for – the views are to die for. Venus also has a watersports arm to the business based at Bigbury-on-Sea and Blackpool Sands to help you work up an appetite!

Set up in 1995 by Michael Smith, his wife Louisa and Lee Porter, the company adopted the tagline ‘Loving the Beach’. A key business aim was to create a quality concept which encompassed their keen interest in environmental issues. The South Hams-based family business has gone from strength to strength, winning numerous sustainability awards along the way. From supporting wildlife charities to fundraising for schools, the company continues to have a positive impact at its venues and further afield.

Michael Smith says: “At Venus, we are passionate about looking after the environment. We consider the environmental impact of every business decision we take. Our goal is to minimise the impact of our business, using local and organic suppliers, reducing food miles and employing local people. We hope that our contribution - through saving energy, recycling products, centralising our operations and using sustainable materials - will help to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy our beautiful coastline and countryside as much as we do”.

The company uses countless innovative methods to boost energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint. Venus re-develops sites using recyclable materials and sympathetic landscaping (East Portlemouth), uses its own environmental specifications for new builds (Bigbury-on-Sea and Tolcarne) and uses innovative, environmentally friendly approaches when upgrading sites (Blackpool Sands). But there's also the everyday eco-savings, like low carbon vehicles for deliveries, low energy lights, motion sensors for storeroom lights and a study into encouraging customers to recycle efficiently.

Venus's suppliers are happy to help the company in its quest, too: In 2009, a 5 litre bag-in-box organic fruit juice was developed for Venus by Luscombe Organic Juices saving some 3,000 glass bottles.

Helpful Holidays and Venus are forging a long-term partnership and working together on a range of marketing activities, in particular to develop a ‘sustainable cottage scheme’ to highlight the particularly environmentally friendly holiday homes in our portfolio. We’ve seen a consistent demand from holidaymakers for information about the ‘green’ credentials of our holiday cottages on issues such as recycling, composting, water and energy saving and using local transport. We’ll keep you posted on our progress with the scheme.

So if you’re staying in the South Hams or north Cornwall, or even just visiting for a day, why not head for one of these spectacular beaches and enjoy a tasty treat from Venus? Next month, look out for our post about the Venus SUP Championship in May.

View holiday cottages in the South Hams
View holiday cottages in North Cornwall