The Poppies Story

Founded in 1980 by Sue Rorstad, Poppies launched its first franchise in 1983. More than a decade of successfully launching people into business later, what Sue didn’t know was that one of them was to become the future of her brand.

In 1996 Chris Wootton became a Poppies franchisee in Ormskirk, Lancashire. Carefully following the business model honed by Sue and earlier franchisees, he grew his business (which he still owns to this day!) into the largest in the Poppies network.

As Chris says, “Becoming a Poppies franchisee turned out to be everything I had wished for from a business and more – successful, profitable, rewarding, fulfilling and fun!”

With Chris enjoying sustained success, he and Sue became good friends. He moved into various franchise management and support roles within Poppies, using the experience he’d gained from growing his own franchise to help others do the same around the UK.

When Sue’s thoughts turned to retirement, it was a natural evolution for Chris to take over the reins. On 1 April 2018 – 22 years to the day since he became a franchisee, and 38 years to the day since Poppies was founded – Chris bought the business and became the new managing director.

With a love for Poppies and a firm belief in the franchise, Chris spent a full two years diligently setting the brand up for its future, modernising systems and pausing new franchise sales completely until the time was right and the business was ready.

That time is now. The business is ready.

Are you ready to write your own story?

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" I've seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve been able to use my experience to fill the gaps that I saw as a franchisee. My first two years as a franchisor were spent developing the brand ready for its next phase of life. The goal wasn’t to instantly recruit franchisees but rather to invest in the business and create the best possible environment for all franchisees to succeed. "

Chris Wootton
Poppies West Lancashire franchisee & Poppies Managing Director

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