That's my business - Jay Hickson and Steve Black , Hickson & Black delicatessen, Chorlton

Jay Hickson and Steve Black of Chorlton's Hickson & Black's talk about their thriving delicatessen

What we do: We are a delicatessen specialising in farmhouse cheeses and artisan food stuffs from the UK and beyond

Who we do it for: Our customer base varies from local office workers needing a daily coffee and a sandwich to prestigious restaurants requiring an informed and bespoke service.

Despite our tender years, our reputation precedes us and we are supplying customers who have been recommended to us from well outside the local area.

What makes us special: There is a lot of competition in our industry in South Manchester, so it takes a great deal of hard work to grow and maintain a top reputation.

On a retail level, we really go out of our way to source quite unique cheeses and products that keep our customers interested and keen to visit the store frequently to see what new delights await. We also supply many local bars and restaurants with their cheeseboards, offering a detailed and individual service from providing tasting notes and menus to portioning and staff training.

How we got started:  Jay has worked in the world of cheese for over a decade, starting at the esteemed cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield in Bath to eventually become a partner with specialist Italian cheese importer Gastronomica. Steve has had a life-long interest in fine foods, working alongside Jay at Gastronomica. The pair began selling local cheeses from a market stall in 2009 and with the closure of Gastronomica Manchester later that year opened the ‘Hickson & Black’s’ store.

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Business person we most admire: Like ourselves there are many local businessmen and women who have started up in the middle of the recession and are having a real good go at it. We’re terribly proud of Chorlton’s reputation for unique and well-loved small businesses and hope to firmly become part of that community.

Secret of our success: We are always prepared to go out of our way to assist an individual customer’s needs, listening to requirements and making every effort to provide exactly what they need, when products are truly unobtainable we can always offer suitable alternatives drawing on our extensive knowledge of cheeses. From a wholesale point of view, we have great working relationships with many quality local producers which means that we can compete with much larger distributors whilst offering a genuinely personal service.

Our business philosophy/top tips: Always be prepared to listen to a customer’s requests and treat every enquiry with equal care and attention, whether a �2 sale or an important commercial contract. This works both ways – the most valued advice we receive is from other business owners, hearing how someone has overcome the perils and pitfalls of business first hand is invaluable.

Hickson & Black’s next move: We intend on really building on our wholesale business over the next year, we feel that with our expertise and approachable attitude we can offer a different and more individual service to our competitors. We hope to obtain a licence to sell alcohol before the end of the year which we feel will complete our range of fine food and drinks.

0161 881 Barlow Moor Road,Chorlton M21 8AN