Jarrold chief executive Minnie Moll loves East Anglia. Here's why...
PUBLISHED: 19:09 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:59 20 August 2018
Jarrold's Minnie Moll loves Hellman's Mayonnaise, Some Like It Hot and her tractor. She talks to Gina Long about East Anglia
Minnie Moll came back to East Anglia 13 years ago after a London career in marketing and innovation. She was Joint Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op until becoming Chief Executive of Jarrold Retail in Norwich in July. For the last two years, Minnie was HRH Prince Charles’ Ambassador for Responsible Business in the East of England and she’s passionate about business making a difference in the region. She talks to Gina Long
What is your connection to East Anglia?
I was born in Norwich, then grew up on a Thames sailing barge in Suffolk from the age of three. My father is from a long line of farmers in Essex, so I have roots in all three counties. After years living and working in London I moved back about 13 years ago and live on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?
Our unspoilt countryside and huge skies. I love nature and being close to the land. It’s good for the soul. On one drive home from work, through beautiful countryside, I saw five hares, a deer and a barn owl that flew alongside me. You don’t get that on the tube home in London.
What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?
Problems with the trains and the A12. Although I sometimes think the poor transport links have kept us unspoilt because it’s hard to get here! And surviving 10 years on about 1 Mbps of internet speed. Delighted to say fibre finally arrived in my village this summer.
What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?
Sorry cheating but…Sole Bay Fish Company in Southwold, Fressingfield Fox and Goose, Tuddenham Mill and Benji’s restaurant, a hidden gem in the Jarrold store. I could go on. We are so lucky to have such a vibrant restaurant scene and great chefs with a passion for using local produce.
What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?
Drinks with friends in a local pub followed by eating in the garden. Friends from London can’t believe the clarity of the stars at night, thanks to the lack of light pollution.
What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?
Holkham beach. The huge panorama of sky and sand make it one of the most uplifting places I know. It makes me want to run and do cartwheels. I have to make a pilgrimage there every year without fail.
What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
We go with a group of friends each year to Red Rooster at Euston Hall, a small but perfectly formed music festival. There’s no phone signal so you just have to relax and escape for the weekend.
What your specialist Mastermind subject?
I guess I know a fair bit about plants and gardening now. Otherwise it would be punk and new wave music.
What is always in your fridge?
What’s your simple philosophy of life?
It’s not a rehearsal. Get on with it, live each day the best way you can and value the little moments.
What’s your favourite film?
‘Some like it hot’. It’s a bonkers storyline, a great cast and a feel good classic. ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ would be a modern favourite.
What was your first job?
Apart from bar work in local pubs, it was in Parrot Records in Ipswich. It was a cool place to work in the punk era with outrageous outfits and dayglo vinyl (oops..showing my age here).
What is your most treasured possession?
My 1953 little grey Fergie TED 20 tractor. I drive in the Waveney Valley ‘Pink Ladies Tractor Run’ in aid of Breast Cancer each year and love vintage tractors so much that I finally bought one last year.
Each year over 150 ladies aged from 18 to 80 drive vintage tractors decked out in pink on a 25 mile route. It’s AWESOME to behold so check it out if you can – normally the first weekend of July. We’ve raised over £580k.
Who do you admire most?
People who are curious and want to learn and grow. Brave people and kind people. People who want to make a positive difference.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Buying flowers for myself when I don’t have any to cut from the garden. I love gardening, plants and nature and having a big vase of beautiful flowers in the house makes me happy.
What do you like about yourself most?
I was lucky to be born glass half full. I am an enthusiast and an optimist, which helps me enjoy life.
What’s your worst character trait?
My husband and daughters would say over-empathy – I can cry at a film someone is watching within a minute of walking into the room.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Oohh… that’s hard. For culture Venice, for adventure Thailand and for sun Andalucia.
Best day of your life?
One has to be Christmas Day 2013, riding elephants through the jungle in northern Thailand with my husband and daughters. We were properly on their backs, not on wooden seats. Sitting on the shoulders of these huge, powerful, fascinating creatures is an extraordinary experience. Sharing it as a family was the best Christmas present.
What’s your favourite breakfast?
The full monty, sitting round a big table of family and friends laughing about the night before. Although the eggs would need to be from our chickens. They are very spoilt and happy and their eggs are the best.
What’s your favourite tipple?
Red or Rose wine, or Aspall Cider. And I love a good malt whisky. My mother was from Islay in the Hebrides, home of the best whiskies in the world. My favourite is Bruichladdich.
What’s your hidden talent?
I used to be pretty good at sport. I played hockey and netball for Suffolk. I’m quite good at pool and have been known to surprise men who take me on thinking that girls can’t play.
When were you most embarrassed?
Many years ago, when I returned to work after nine months of maternity leave, I bounded round the business introducing myself to anyone new, explaining who I was and asking them what they did. One young man looked slightly baffled but shook my hand politely and told me he was a cycle courier making a delivery.
What’s your earliest memory?
Mud. Growing up on a Barge at Pin Mill meant we were always playing in the river and mud. I had a very ‘Swallows and Amazons’ childhood.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
I’d want the full gamut of emotions, so ‘English Rose’ by Paul Weller to get everyone crying but then ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ sung by Andy Williams to make everyone laugh. I may insist on a sing along to the ‘I love you baby’ bit.
Tell us something people don’t know about you?
I have identical twin daughters aged 20. There’s lots of fascination about identical twins and it’s certainly been an adventure watching them grow up. We’re very proud of them.
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
Tell us why you live here and nowhere else.
It’s a perfect pace of life. We have vibrant towns and cities combined with the peace of the countryside. London is close when I want it but there is enough creativity and culture right here. When I go to London now I’m very happy as the train heads home and leaves ‘the smoke’ behind.
What do you want to tell our readers about most?
I feel privileged joining Jarrold. It is rightly a much loved brand in Norfolk and now I have the inside view, I can confirm that it really is as authentic, customer focused and passionately local as it seems from the outside.