I suppose I’m now a middle-aged man in Lycra laughs Paddy and Scott’s CEO Scott Russell
- Credit: Archant
Scott Russell, CEO of Paddy and Scott’s, tells us how a childhood spent by the sea gave the entrepreneur a taste for Suffolk’s landscape.
Scott’s parents worked hard, running their own jewellery shop, which opened every day in Southend. Living by the sea as a child was a dream come true, with huge sunsets and idle days enjoying the windswept beach.
“Some of my earliest memories are of my brother James and I counting cash and piling them into bundles of £100 in the back of the shop. We both learnt the value of money before we were old enough to play Monopoly,” recalls the entrepreneur, who moved to Suffolk 15 years ago just after his second son Max was born.
“At the time I was part of the ‘rat-race’ working in London and it changed my focus - I wanted to re-balance my life. I aspired to find a home for my growing family that would give them freedom, space and the opportunity to enjoy the open countryside. I guess I had a vision of how I wanted to see my children grow up.”
His first visit to Suffolk was almost by accident, by incorrectly setting up his sat nav. Scott was overwhelmed by the beautiful sunsets and open meadowlands.
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“It literally took my breath away - it was all I needed it to be; a haven away from the stresses of London life. It’s hard to describe that feeling of escapism, unless you’ve experienced the London rush hour day after day.”
The family lives in the “charming village” of Sternfield, a stone’s throw away from Snape Maltings and the concert hall which has become a Christmas tradition for his two younger boys.
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“Our corner of Suffolk – we like to think we ‘belong’ now – boasts windswept shingle beaches, endless heathland and muddy banks, where I’m pleased to say my wife Linzi and I have enjoyed watching our four boys play over the years - what boy doesn’t like mud?
“I still feel inspired by the landscape, it thrills me to be able to wake and have this all on your doorstep. As a keen cyclist, I suppose I’m now classified a MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra). I get the opportunity to enjoy the changing seasons, discover new paths and most importantly get time to reflect.”
There’s a route that’s a regular jaunt. Cycling through Snape, past the maltings over the River Alde - one of the most beautiful estuaries on the east coast. Scott loves the wide marshes, those little rivulets and mud banks.
He follows the river to the thatched St Botolph’s Church and then on to the ancient port of Orford, with its imposing Norman castle - which he says looks like the classic sand-bucket castle - and from there loops back to arrive at Aldeburgh for fish and chips.
Or he follows the coastal cycle path through the beautiful wetlands, marshes and heaths of Minsmere to Dunwich where The Ship Inn serves a decent pint and a well-earned bacon sandwich.
“Anyone that cycles will, I know, say the same thing, that it gives you an insight into a world you’d never notice in a car.
“Same when I’m running or walking - I’ll enjoy seeing a fox or bird swoop against the sky and it sort of sets me up for the day ahead. “I really enjoy my cycling, so much so that now my regular visits to London include one of my fold-up Brompton bikes.”
As a family they love to cook but also enjoy the wealth of great places to eat in Suffolk.
“My favourite is Milsom’s Kesgrave Hall, although nothing beats The Crown in Woodbridge for a Friday night glass of wine and late supper and the Station in Framlingham takes some beating if you fancy a stone-baked pizza and pint of Victoria Ale.
“I love the pride we have in East Anglia for local food and provenance. There seems to be so much to offer and I’m a great believer in supporting the local farmers and producers. I’m proud to have started Paddy and Scott’s in Suffolk, originally selling coffee from my car,” says Scott.
“Now our HQ The Bean Barn is in Earl Soham delivering coffee – that has been ground locally in East Anglia – worldwide with our flagship coffee bars in Bury St Edmunds and Hadleigh.”
Excitingly, they’ve recently launched their own coffee farm in Kenya, producing coffee for their cafes but most importantly supporting the coffee farmers and community.
“I believe the only way to help the Kenyan farming community is to go straight to the source and pay more for the raw product. So we started a mission to cut out the middle men.
“We’re shortening the distance between you and your coffee; and enabling you to help support the farmers by owning a tree on the plantation - but that’s another story.”
What he doesn’t like about East Anglian...
“The mobile signal,” says Scott. “There are times of course when being ‘out of touch’ is great, but with sporty boys, Saturday matches and their windswept locations can be challenging.”