Poppies Café Enniskerry


 Entrepreneur:   Peter Norton          

Employees:     7

Established in:  2001

Local Enterprise Office Supports:   Green for Micro

Turnover:          €800K

Location:        Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow

Website:            n/a

Famous for:   Rhubarb Crumble

What can you tell us about the early days and how it all started?

 I used to work for Statoil and I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Back in 2000, I was chatting to an accountant about my plans to bring a franchise from the UK and he mentioned a Café in Enniskerry. I bought the business and Niall my brother was a silent partner.  More recently we have purchased the building. To achieve success in this business means very hard work /7-day weeks with little or no down time. With great increase in sales in 6 months, which I believe came from proper staff training and on hand management participation. Our staff numbers have grown from 3 to 7 which we are very proud of.

What was your big ‘break-through’ moment?

10 years ago, there was an issue in the area with the mains water supply, Poppies had to close for 2 days. During this time, I started investigating harvesting rain water, shortly after we started harvesting our own with the help of H20zone in Kilcoole, this resulted in the water we used in the shop being predominately rain water. We then starting using Solar tubes, using the sun to heat water in the shop and it was then I started on my sustainable business & personal journey. Having received fantastic support from the Wicklow Local Enterprise Office with the Green for Business grant, it helped us formalise our sustainability practices and enabled us to produce a sustainability statement.

What’s next on the business agenda for you and Poppies?

Having just completed and passed my post grad in Climate Entrepreneurship I am very excited to bring my expertise to others in industry. The plan would be to set up another business, namely a consultancy that shows people how to be sustainable, particularly around the benefits but not just to the environment but also the bottom line.   

 “A win” is engaging all my Enniskerry business peers on their sustainable journey and “Make Enniskerry a Centre of Excellence in Sustainability”.  Personally, I believe because of my passion in sustainability my staff are also now more and more realising the importance of sustainability and actively making more informed personal and professional decisions around their sustainable footprints too.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten about running a business?

Success is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration..

What is the best book you have ever read, business or non-business?

Business - Shoe dog by Phil knight 

Sport - Rainbow Warrior by Francois Pienaar

Fiction anything by Jo Nesbo and Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) 

Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most?

Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia, his commitment to sustainability and how you can be so successful in a sustainable manner is inspiring. In an age of green washing, he walks the walk and not just talk the talk.

What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date? 

Crash in 2009, bank charges going up, recent Energy crises, and food costs increases and staff shortages.

To apply for Green for Business click here Green for Business or email for further information about this support enterprise@leo.wicklowcoco.ie