An investment deal has been struck for multi-award-winning Keelham Farm Shop to expand across the North of England.
The retailer's chief executive, Victoria Robertshaw, announced the plans today after the business entered into a new partnership with Growth Partner LLP to support its expansion.
First opening as a small family-run shop on the Robertshaws' farm in Thornton, on the outskirts of Bradford, Keelham opened a second shop in Skipton in June 2015 and has now won more than 60 industry awards in recognition of its support of local food producers and its standout retail experience - including Large Farm Shop of the Year in The Yorkshire Post's 2017 Rural Awards.
Mrs Robertshaw, who remains the majority shareholder of the business, told The Yorkshire Post she hopes to open a new store within 18 months, somewhere in Yorkshire.
She said: "To have found a like-minded investment partner for Keelham is really important and that’s exactly what we’ve found in Growth Partner.
"With their support and backing we have a great opportunity to expand our vision for Keelham Farm Shop as a commercial success with a meaningful purpose.”
Mrs Robertshaw added: “I’ve lost count of the times that customers have said ‘if only we had a Keelham near us’.
"This investment partnership will help us to take Keelham to hundreds of thousands more people, within and beyond Yorkshire, as well as online where there is really exciting potential for growth.
"We believe that we can improve the health and happiness of the nation through better food and this investment is the first step towards achieving our vision.”
North Yorkshire-based Growth Partner LLP is run by managing partner Gerard Downes and works to support business owners and their teams through the challenges of scaling their business.
The company's founder Richard Harpin will offer strategic advice to the board of Keelham Farm Shop as the business's expansion takes shape.
Mr Downes said: “Victoria has created a truly customer focused shopping experience, delivering high quality curated products in a welcoming and engaging environment.
"We think more customers will love having access to a Keelham and are delighted to support Victoria and the team to achieve this. This represents our third consecutive investment in a successful female entrepreneur led business."
The investment in Keelham Farm Shop comes after its original Thornton shop switched to the sole ownership of Mrs Robertshaw's brother, James Robertshaw. The Bradford outlet now comes under the name of Robertshaw’s Farm Shop.
Santander bank will act as Keelham's funding partner as part of its growth plans.