A LONG-standing family business which supplies chicken to wholesalers and restaurants has become a retailer for the first time.

Dovey’s can trace its history to the 1930s, when the family were chicken farmers in Upton, supplying eggs and poultry.

It was founded by James Holland, whose daughter Gwenda and son-in-law Alan Dovey developed the company in the 1970s and 1980s. They moved out of farming and into food distribution. The business is run today by the third generation of the family, Geoffrey and Jeremy Dovey.

The company has one division supplying own label chicken products and other frozen foods to up to 230 restaurants across the south.

Another provides foodservice wholesale companies throughout the UK, mainly with own label raw and cooked chicken.

The new venture is Mrs Dovey’s, a shop on its factory site in Blandford Road, Upton, which is open Thursdays to Saturdays, selling raw and cooked chicken products, as well as other meats, vegetables and ice cream.

The company says its mission is to offer high quality products at factory prices.

Geoffrey Dovey has advised the Food Standards Agency and has frequently appeared on radio and TV calling for stricter labelling of chicken products.

He said: “I feel that over time – in most industry sectors – a number of very large dominant players become established and small family companies like ours, with a different perspective, are crowded out. This is not necessarily in the public interest, and certainly does not favour in my view competition. “Good food does not need to be expensive and families who have their budgets under pressure can save money, and still eat well, if they know where to look.”

He thanked Andy Farmer, senior international commercial manager with HSBC Dorset, for his support for the new venture.

Mrs Dovey’s, at 498 Blandford Road, holds an opening barbecue on Saturday from 11am to 2pm, with samples and discounts.