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Jewellery entrepreneur famous for spectacular rise and fall set to star at Suffolk business event

PUBLISHED: 11:31 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:31 14 August 2018

Gerald Ratner, who will be at the MENTA event 

Gerald Ratner, who will be at the MENTA event Picture: PHIL GOODSON


A jewellery entrepreneur whose fortunes took a tumble in the 1990s after a publicity gaffe is set to appear at a Suffolk business event.

Greg Cooper at the 2017 MENTA Business Show Picture:  i101 DIGITALGreg Cooper at the 2017 MENTA Business Show Picture: i101 DIGITAL

Gerald Ratner, who became the world’s largers jewellery retailer with profits in excess of £120m was forced to sell the family business after likening one of his products to an M&S prawn sandwich.

He will talk with typical candour about his rollercoaster journey and the lessons he learnt at the annual MENTA Business Show 2018, which takes place on October 2 at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds.

The show, which is free to attend and supported by Atkins Thomson Solicitors, is set to host more than 70 businesses who will showcase their goods and services.

MENTA chief executive Alex Till said: “It will be fantastic to welcome Gerald Ratner as our keynote speaker and a great opportunity for the audience to network afterwards on the stage at The Apex whilst enjoying brunch canapes.”

Jesse Quin, founder of the innovative Old Jet, near Woodbridge Picture: NICK ILOTTJesse Quin, founder of the innovative Old Jet, near Woodbridge Picture: NICK ILOTT

Mr Ratner took over as chief executive of the family jewellery chain in the mid 1980s, becoming one of Britain’s best-known businessmen. He transformed it from 130 stores with sales of £13m, to a public company with 2,500 stores and sales of more than £1.2bn.

The MENTA Business Show will be open from 9am until 4.30pm and during the afternoon broadcaster, Nick Pandolfi, will host ‘Talking Heads’. His business guests will include Jesse Quin, bass guitarist of rock band, Keane, and founder of the innovative Old Jet, near Woodbridge.

They will be joined by Jason Carter of HOAX clothing, whose brand ambassador is Ed Sheeran, designer and illustrator, Brie Harrison and Peter Hampel of EdenLAB. They’ll discuss how to develop and build a successful brand.

Tickets to the MENTA Business Show are free, tickets are available to purchase for both Gerald Ratner and Talking Heads at www.menta.org.uk or directly with The Apex box office. The event is supported by Invest in Suffolk

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