THE philanthropist Joseph Rowntree believed that business must have a human face, writes Deputy Business Editor Greg Wright.
His great grandson, Mark Rowntree, has set up a company which aims to prove that small firms can still cause a stir in the confectionery world. Mr Rowntree is providing a boost for the local economy by moving into new premises on the Thorp Arch Estate in West Yorkshire.
Confectionery wholesale business, Bon Bon’s, which was founded in 2007 by Mr Rowntree, has moved to a 13,300 sq ft Unit 1 on Ash Way.
Born out of the Bon Bon sweet shop business that Mr Rowntree started with his wife Lesley, the wholesale company sources a wide range of luxury confectionery, from Belgian chocolates to boiled sweets, gourmet mallows to specialist liquorices.
It supplies hundreds of independent retailers, farm shops, delicatessens, department stores and tourist attractions throughout the UK including the Tower of London, British Museum, Kew Gardens Alton Towers and Chatsworth House.
Mr Rowntree, who brought in co-director, Peter Julian in 2008, has created double-digit business growth every year, despite launching during the economic slump, and now has 85 staff and a turnover approaching £5m.
Mr Rowntree said: “Although we do not have mass market aspirations, we started out in a unit the size of a residential garage on a business estate in Wetherby.
“Our rapid expansion meant that we were finally based in three separate premises, which was not great for internal communications and also meant forklift trucks had to travel between them. It was fortunate that Thorp Arch Estate enabled us to move the business into one building.”