Richard returned to FWD Co. early 2008 bringing with him 5-years of external learnings and experience. But when the doors of our Christchurch store opened mid-year, the effects of the GFC were biting hard. Despite the utmost endeavours of the family and loyal staff we were forced to place the business into Voluntary Administration in November, morphing into a DOCA (Deed of Company Arrangement) on December 22. We enjoyed 99% support from our suppliers, enabling the family to go forward and repay creditors, to begin to rebuild our treasured family wine business started 10-years earlier from a bedroom at home.
2009 through 2012 were rebuilding years and with all profits directed towards repaying supplier debt, technological and capital investment were severely constrained. Like driving with the handbrake on, for an innovatively minded family business perennially seeking ways to improve our customer offering and experience. During the many tough times in our 4-year DOCA management, we would say to each other… “the Phoenix will one day rise again from the ashes". 11 July 2012, having repaid several million dollars and with the blessing of our suppliers we exited DOCA, reclaiming our much-loved family business. I remember that day so vividly, we celebrated with a few glasses of Gardet Champagne after making the announcement to our excited team we were officially out of DOCA, declaring “The Phoenix had risen from the Ashes”. Being true to one of the five founding pillars of FWD Co. (create strong supplier relationships based on integrity), had engendered such incredible supplier support, making our recovery possible.
Mid 2012 our daughter Tracey (my first employee in June 1998) took flight after 14-years working with Dad, to join George Weston Foods as Senior Brands Manager. Tracey had enjoyed a practical sales/marketing experience like no other and in her later years working at FWD Co, had completed a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing, she wanted new experiences and went with our blessing, though we knew those shoes would be nigh on impossible to fill.
July that year we found new premises at 42 Lunn Avenue, Mt. Wellington and set about creating a next generation FWD Co. Our vision was to open a large retail store outside of the city centre (the city had become a difficult place to retail in) that would be accessible to more of our customers - a theatre of Fine Wine, Craft Beer and Fine Spirit experiences supported by generation 8 of finewinedelivery.co.nz