Posted: 04/02/2019

Iconic North Yorks deli up for sale

Hunters of Helmsley
Hunters of Helmsley: Grade II listed shop in a popular tourist town

One of Britain’s best-loved traditional market-town delis, Hunters of Helmsley, has gone up for sale with a £550k price tag.

The award-winning shop has been operating from its current premises in the picturesque North Yorkshire town of Helmsley for more than 25 years, and has been owned since 2008 by Chris and Christine Garnett.

Operating over two floors of a handsome Grade II listed stone building with a prominent spot in the popular tourist town, it now averages £21,000 sales a week, with annual net profit just shy of £100k.

Christine Garnett told FFD: “Chris is 62, I’m approaching 60 and we recently became grandparents, so we decided it was time to hang up our aprons.”

Hunters offers a classic combination of fresh meats, cheeses, salads and sandwiches from its ground floor deli and premium ambient groceries and gifts upstairs.

While the ambient range had been “decluttered” in recent years, Garnett said the deli’s old-school charm had been maintained. “We are still fairly traditional, which people seem to love judging by the daily comments we get in store.”

At the same time, the owners have been smart in their use of social media and PR to raise the profile of Hunters well beyond the North Yorkshire National Park.

Garnett added: “I’m sure a fresh pair of eyes will see new opportunities. I certainly can, and would implement them if I were 10 years younger.”

Hunters has won many plaudits under its current ownership. It was named independent food retailer of the year in the 2015 Yorkshire Life Food & Drink Awards, and in the same year won the national Best Small Shops competition run by the All-Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group.

Now run largely by its staff of seven full-timers and two part-timers, last year it was a regional finalist in the Guild of Fine Food’s Shop of the Year competition.

Garnett said the store’s eventual new owners should focus on keeping customer service “second to none”, listen carefully to the needs of locals, and not over-modernise the range.  She advised: “Keep up with trends, but focus on local, particularly on the fresh deli.”

Hunters is being sold through Leeds-based business agent Ernest Wilson.



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