Home Startups & Entrepreneurship Former company director responds to redundancy by launching oven valeting firm Ovenu...

Former company director responds to redundancy by launching oven valeting firm Ovenu York

John Duggleby of Ovenu York

A former partner in a catering supplies business who was made redundant over the summer has launched his own oven valeting business, Ovenu York.

John Duggleby remains optimistic about the future – despite starting his venture the same week as a second lockdown was imposed throughout England.

He said: “I’ve already built up a healthy order book for the first few weeks, which is keeping me really busy. It’s certainly proving a baptism of fire, but I’ve been encouraged by the number of enquiries I’ve received so far.

“I lost my previous job following the spring lockdown, so the timing is perhaps not the best, but I want to assure people I’m open for business and have a range of covid-safe policies in place to keep both myself and my clients safe.”

John was previously a partner and director in a York-based catering supplier for eight years before it was acquired by another company. He stayed on as general manager but, with the spring lockdown threatening to wipe out much of the hospitality industry, he was furloughed before eventually being made redundant in June.

He immediately began searching job adverts and was invited to several interviews but felt, at the age of 46, that he was at a distinct disadvantage in such a crowded job market.

“I had experience of running a business and dealing with customers, so it seemed the obvious answer – to take control of my future.”
John, who has a degree in Business Management, initially worked for an IT company before deciding office life wasn’t for him. Instead, he trained as a cabinet maker and learnt the art of French polishing before he was invited to join the catering firm.

Having decided to rekindle his entrepreneurial spirit, John, who is also a qualified personal trainer, took over the franchise following the retirement of previous owner Richard Wilks.

He added: “I aim to build on Richard’s excellent reputation for customer service and I’d like to grow the business to the point that I can operate extra vans and employ sub-contractors.”

Ovenu York, which covers the city along with Easingwold, Malton, Pocklington, Selby and surrounding areas, is accepting bookings at its discretion, with the strict stipulation that both parties observe the two-metre social distancing rule, along with guidelines on hygiene and cleanliness.

Rik Hellewell, managing director of Ovenu, said: “John has a proven track record in running successful businesses and while these remain challenging times, I’m confident that he has the skills and ability to succeed.”