Jobs saved as buyer steps in to take on one of Leeds' favourite bars Friends of Ham

Friends of Ham at New Station Street in Leeds.
Friends of Ham at New Station Street in Leeds.
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Thirty-four jobs have been saved after a buyer has stepped in to save a city centre charcuterie and wine bar which had gone into administration.

Glentrool has 25 years of experience within the corporate sector and drinks industry and has completed a deal to buy Friends of Ham, which has a bar on New Station Street as well as in Ilkley, after it went into administration last week.

The new owners confirmed that all staff will keep their jobs and that it is working with Anthony and Claire Kitching on the future of the bar which opened in 2012.

Katie Pannu of purchasers, Glentrool said:

“We are delighted to be investing in such a unique and vibrant business and want to confirm that all of the remaining employees from each of the locations have been retained.

"Friends of Ham has been meticulously developed by Anthony and Claire Kitching over the past five years as the go to destination for the craft beer and food lovers of Leeds. It is a fantastic concept in great locations with loyal customers. Our investment ensures the future of Friends of Ham and we look forward to working with Anthony and Claire”.

Administrators, Poppleton & Appleby, were drafted in on August 7 and said while the Leeds bar remained very popular with new and old customers, the business in Ilkley took longer to establish itself and the Ham & Friends deli venture, operated through a separate company, didn’t flourish. It closed in March and was latterly re-launched as a drinking venue trading as Lucky No. 7.

Ham & Friends Limited, which ran the premises trading from Merrion Street, Leeds ceased trading on August 5.
Charles Brook Partner of Poppleton & Appleby said: “In a highly competitive market the cost of managing the development of the Ilkley and Merrion Street businesses placed significant strain on the combined financial resources of the two companies. Although the original business was resilient, cash flow suffered and the companies came under increasing pressure to maintain payments to their creditors.

"The directors took advice and it was initially hoped that a CVA might be proposed to and agreed by creditors; however, even as those proposals were distributed, it became apparent that the protracted UK heatwave had caused a significant short-term reduction in footfall within Leeds city centre and especially at the flagship premises which didn’t have the benefit of an outdoor area for its clients.”