Hallmark Catering Hire off Dartmouth Road

Hello everybody ,

Happy Friday to you all :grinning:

I hope you are all enjoying this fine winters day !

I know…sigh … another business plug - but there’s a lot to be said for being local and reaching out to our local community.

I joined the Hallmark Catering Hire Team in the Summer, as a local resident (and also a fellow Foresthillian) its a privilege to work for a local company and be able to walk into work after dropping my son off to school.

Hallmark has been a part of the Forest Hill community for 28 years. @Anotherjohn may remember us from our time in 1992-2000 in Havelock walk.

Then we moved over to Willow way, just off of Dartmouth road in 2000 and here we still are! But the question is, did you know we are here ?

If I’m to be honest , had I not have discovered the company when job searching in my preferred 5 mile radius (quite the challenge I can tell you )- I wouldn’t have known about it ! Hence me popping up to say hello here and spreading the word about us and our services.

We provide tableware, glassware , furniture and catering equipment for hire, for events big and small.

We have some loyal local customers already and some friends I am hoping are on this site too.

We supply everything you need for all types of functions, bbq’s , chairs, trestle tables, chafing dishes, china, cutlery… I could go on but if an effort not to bore you… I wont !

With Peoples day ,The big Jubilee bank holiday (lots of street parties), I wanted to let you know we have everything you need - we are ridiculously reasonable and better still … we are locals - true locals, you’ve probably seen us around and defiantly would have been in our presence in the local pubs and cafes.

So if you need anything , even a parasol for your garden party - give us a shout, we are a small friendly team, who’s ethos is …Your Event, Your Vision… Our Equipment.

Well that’s it from me, for now… just a quick hi and how are you… hope to help you celebrate life’s occasions soon !

Take care,

Steph@Hallmark

Hallmark Catering

0208 291 9339

info@hallmarkcatering.com

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Yes Stephanie, I remember it well. But wasn’t the Havelock Walk warehouse initially set up as an expansion of Coulters Catering, which had been running for years prior from its main shop in Honor Oak Park?

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Hi Steph I did know about Hallmark and some of the many other great businesses on Willow Way. I wish more were done to celebrate them and the benefits and opportunities for working locally. Mostly it’s only office workers who can enjoy the privilege of working from home, but many more can work within walking distance of home.

The Willow Way site also includes businesses as diverse as Selkent (industrial fastenings - I.e. bolts and the like) and Birchalls (delicious tea importers). It’s designated as a Local Employment Area, but since the Council Depot closed some years ago a huge area has lain waste, despite the attempts of a local business to lease it from the Council, which would have created much needed local jobs.

The Council should do more to raise the profile of and celebrate our great local businesses. I did suggest an open day or similar event a few years ago, but nothing happened.

If Willow Way loses its protected employment area designation businesses will be priced out and we’ll become even more of a dormitory town.

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Hi @Anotherjohn,

Apologies for my delay - I wanted to make sure I had a full run down of the history before I responded ::blush: :thinking:
Yes , we were once Coulters catering (the business owner was my boss’s step father) That started in Honor oak Park originally as one shop which eventually expanded into 3 .Then he brought the Havelock walk premises around 1980.
My Boss, as a young boy/pre teen worked every weekend and holiday (would be totally illegal now ) for his Step dad as a kitchen porter , bar tender, caterer , van assistant and eventually worked his way up to Catering Manager. When offered an opportunity to go to Uni or work - he chose work- I won’t reveal his age - but he is still working hard today, putting us younger staff to shame, having never lost that work ethic that was installed in him from a very young age!

The stepfather sold the company in the 1990’s to a larger company that moved to lower Sydenham. My Boss continued to work as a manager there, for two years. After making lots of his workers redundant at the higher ups commands, he had it - when asked to make another worker redundant - he instead submitted his own redundancy paperwork.

It was at this point that my Boss decided he was going to try his hand at running his own catering and hire company- he went back to his step fathers Havelock walk premises and rented the space from him - with his step dad showing up on time each week, without fail for his rent !

When it was time for the Stepfather to sell the Havelock premises , My boss managed to secure the Willow way site in 2000.We kept up the catering and hire side of things until 2014 when we made the decision to go down the hire route solely.

And here we still are ! Two lockdowns later, a pandemic, a credit crunch, inflation, fuel crisis and all of the other things that could have finished us off !

We still have some of the original staff, an 86 year old , 74 year old and 72 year old amongst them ! The rumour is , once a Hallmarker always a Hallmarker !

I’m obviously glad Hallmark is still here, because it means I’ve got to meet some great people, my work family and I get to hear a lot of tales about the history of Hallmark !!!

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Hi @marymck,

Some great points , thank you., all of those resonate with me personally as a local.
We are a very diverse lot here at Hallmark and are all locals to the area, some of us have been with the company for 36 years, from Havelock walk to Willow way, so for what it is worth, this company has provided jobs to locals for 40 plus years, I wont comment on whether the local council has made that easy as that’s not my place.