Beyond the gleaming aisles and affable customer care of Waitrose, Harrogate, is a passion for local produce that has clinched this week's Top Store award.
The elegant north Yorkshire town is loved for its specialist food outlets and is the only postcode in mainland Britain without a Tesco store yet. Data from CACI shows the 20,000 sq ft Waitrose is ideally suited to the Harrogate catchment and is expected to outperform its rivals. That doesn't mean it is resting on its laurels though.
Honouring Harrogate's 'foodie' heritage, store manager Andy Gibbon goes to great lengths to source produce from the Yorkshire area. "I've been keen to increase our range of local produce and have attended Meet the Buyers events to develop our range of local fresh foods," Gibbon said.
"Because Waitrose is southern-based, our northern location means we are geographically challenged. But Waitrose stores are now opening in northern and Scottish areas where local supplier contacts did not previously exist. I saw the potential in getting local produce and although our buyers are the experts, I can still bring great products to their attention."
With customers hungry for local food, Gibbon continues to forge new links between supplier and retailer and will be hosting an in-store Meet the Farmers event in September that will allow customers to question suppliers about their produce.