The essential journalist news source
Farmer replaces cheese with paper to build storage business




Farmer replaces cheese with paper to build a thriving storage business helping businesses achieve a paperless office

Diversification: how a Somerset farmer from a century's old farming business founded a thriving business facility for storing thousands of documents

Sometimes it pays to think out of the box and that is just what Somerset based Simon Barber did when 12 years ago he chose to walk away from declining milk prices and a fall in demand for organic dairy produce. His new business got him thinking outside the box to what is kept inside a box -   not just one box, but thousands. Despite talk of "the paperless office" over 85% of business documentation is still printed out as hard copy.*

Document storage business Filofile is based in the depths of rural Somerset where Simon converted the farm buildings which once housed hundreds of maturing cheese into a highly secure storage facility suitable for housing not hundreds, but thousands of documents. These include valuable papers, files of documents, engineering drawings, healthcare records, media files and other confidential records that need to be placed into a long-term secure storage facility.

Simon points out that Filofile provides a truly unique service in an area stretching from Bristol to Bath and out to Exeter offering professional storage for office files. Clients have access to next day or same day delivery and priority or emergency requests can be delivered within two hours of an order.

The files are stored in a building with a de-humidifier that keeps every file in pristine condition. Simon converted the building by Installing tight police-linked security systems, fire alarms, shelving and smoke detectors in every aisle. The building's humidity is kept below 60% which means that the paper stays immaculate.

Simon says, "It turns out that a building designed for storing cheese is also perfect for storing paper." Although Simon still lives in the family farmhouse, he took the decision to sweat the assets of the farm by renting out the various farm cottages, letting the farms, and then applying himself to a business idea that had materialised when he visited a contact in Northumberland.

"I visited Northumberland and saw that the farmer there had created storage facilities out of some redundant potato sheds. This got me thinking and for a while I operated as an associate learning the ropes about the storage business.

"After a few years I had the opportunity to set up as an independent business which enabled me to focus on offering that essential personal touch to the service which is only really possible when operating as an independent," comments Simon. This approach has worked really well and Filofile has grown organically thanks to a raft of personal recommendations.

Filofile has now been operating for more than 12 years and has clients ranging from firms of accountants to hospitals, charities, schools and legal services. The business uses advanced barcode technology to ensure 99.9% accuracy in all areas of document storage. Accurate tracking of documents is achieved by assigning unique barcode identification numbers to each document storage box and shelf location within the secure storage facility.

Simon comments, "Filofile is an extremely cost effective way for businesses to store and manage records responsibly."

Plans for the future include expansion and Simon currently has his sights set firmly on another building that he plans to transform in the coming months. If it seems that most businesses still have some way to go in achieving a paperless office, the service offered by Filofile is helping to achieve that goal by removing and indexing all the physical documents that many businesses and organisations still produce. As to the advancement towards a paperless office, many are of the opinion that for the time being this is something dreamed up by those who have maybe eaten too much cheese - only a cheese farmer could possibly comment!

For more information visit:

For further press information or hi res images contact: Jane Adkins, A Head for PR, T/: 01935 813114 or E/:

May 2018 (Filofile 01)

Editor's Notes

*Source: IRMS