When Keith Abel failed his bar exam in 1988, he started selling potatoes door to door with his friend Paul Cole and £2,000 borrowed from his brother. They moved into delivering organic fruit and vegetables in 1990, but business at Abel & Cole only really took off with the rise in popularity of organic food early this decade. Cole has since left the business and Ella Heeks became the company’s managing director in 2003 at the age of 25. The Wimbledon firm’s sales grew 86% a year from an annualised £2.1m in 2002 to £13.4m in 2005.

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Company details
Year2006
Rank50
CompanyAbel & Cole
ActivityOrganic produce retailer
LocationWimbledon
Annual sales rise over 3 years85.74%
Latest sales £000s13,368
Staff166
Founded1988
Websitewww.abel-cole.co.uk

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure