A contract with Ocado may be about to put the Square Pie Company back on the retail map, as managing director Martin Dewey explains As you read this we are poised to launch into Ocado with two chilled, unbaked pies initially and two more in a couple of weeks time. This is a great partnership for us because of the ease of distribution, which is into a single depot, and because a lot of people who enjoy our pies in our shops are also Ocado shoppers. We went through a period of consolidation after we pulled out of Sainsbury's last autumn, and have done a lot of work to improve consistency and quality. We underestimated the resources needed to supply Sainsbury's properly, and the distribution costs involved with supplying four depots. In retrospect it was probably not the right time for us, even though sales were good, but we remain on good terms with Sainsbury's and will be back in there one day. There has never been a big masterplan for the business, which started in November 2001. The idea came along over a boozy lunch with a mate in the City of London after I was sacked as project manager for an internet company. I re-mortgaged my flat to bring in a £20,000 start-up investment, found a chef and a little kitchen in East London. I almost went bankrupt a couple of times but we learnt as we went along, driven by a passion for what we do. We turn over about £3.5m a year, and average growth over the past five years has been 50% a year. We provide a great-quality, classic British pie in 13 combinations, using the best-quality, free-range British meat from Borough Market. We have five shops in and around London selling our pies and are planning to open a new site at Spitalfields in June. We will also be in the new Westfield Centre at White City, which will be fantastic for the brand because this will be the best shopping centre in the country, where food will be presented in new and innovative ways. We are also going to push wholesale supply at sports and other events (we already do Lords, Twickenham, Glastonbury and Earl's Court), but will be keeping retail and food service as separate teams. We had problems when we had the same teams for both. The aim is to develop the national brand over the next two or three years by expanding into another ten to 15 outlets. We have a couple of exciting things we are looking at that could make things move a bit quicker, but without losing the reason people come to us in the first place, which is for the best gourmet pies in the country.