John Lewis backs Yorkshire small businesses for flagship Leeds store

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Department store John Lewis has sought to underscore its Yorkshire credentials ahead of the opening of its landmark Leeds store with a new range of regional products.

The retailer will stock a range of Yorkshire wares under its new ‘Made Locally’ initiative, a new project which promises to showcase more than 120 Yorkshire products in its Leeds store when it opens on October 20.

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The Yorkshire range is sourced from 11 regional suppliers, all of which are based within a 30 mile radius of Leeds. The products will also be available on johnlewis.com, making them available to shoppers across the country.

The suppliers who will be showcased in the store, part of the large-scale Victoria Gate development, are a veritable who’s who of quintessential Yorkshire products, including home-fragrance brand The Harrogate Candle Company, Masons Yorkshire Gin and Yorkshire Deli.

The scheme is a partnership with Harrogate-based business The Great British Exchange (GBE). Launched in 2014, it sources artisanal products from new designers, established makers, independent businesses and British-based factories from across the UK. It provides direct support for independent suppliers, making their products available in national retailers and easily accessible for shoppers.

Anna Rigby, head of buying for home accessories and gifts at John Lewis, said: “We know that our customers are interested in the provenance of products and as a British retailer, we’re proud to support British design and quality by sourcing locally.

Tour of the new John Lewis Store, Leeds..Gavin Smith Senior implementational Manager pictured in the store..26th July 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Tour of the new John Lewis Store, Leeds..Gavin Smith Senior implementational Manager pictured in the store..26th July 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

“Our Made Locally campaign, in partnership with The Great British Exchange, will help us strengthen our existing local supplier base and inevitably champion more British designers and manufacturers.”

Masons Yorkshire Gin – distilled and based in Bedale in North Yorkshire - was the first gin to be distilled in Yorkshire. Started by husband and wife team Karl and Catherine Mason, it now employs 14 people.

Mr Mason said: “We also supply Harvey Nichols so we knew our gin stacked up and that there was a demand among premium retailers.”

Deborah Wilson and Fiona Carr, owners of the Harrogate Candle Company said: “We’re very proud to add John Lewis to the list.”

The £165m Victoria Gate centre has John Lewis as its flagship outlet.

Developers say it will bring hundreds of jobs and training opportunities to the region when opened.

It is currently 74 per cent pre-let and will also boast new retailers and restaurants including Russell & Bromley, Aspinal of London, Le Pain Quotidien, Neom Organics and Tommy Hilfiger.

The full list of Yorkshire businesses who will sell out of the Leeds branch is Martha and Hepsie, Myroo, The Art Rooms, Bags by Butterfly Tree, Tipple Tails, Jolly Smith, Jane Katherine Houghton and Little Red Berry.

Alex Newman, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds

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