“Lee tells it like it is. He’s very honest and honesty isn’t always something that you can attribute to your supplier.”
Nigel Mills, MD of the 55-store chain Mills Group, doesn’t have a bad word to say about Lee Furness, the man in the driving seat at Young’s, which delivers £10m worth of goods a year to Mills. “Lee is the third generation of the family to run Young’s. He is very much the one that goes out to look for new ideas.”
Furness must be doing something right because the business has grown from one with an average turnover of £15m to one with £140m.
In May, Young’s acquired AR Daunt, another member of the Key Lekkerland delivered wholesale group. This establishes Young’s as one of the UK’s largest independent wholesalers, with 3,000 customers across the Midlands and north of England, including regional multiples across the forecourt, c-store and CTN sectors.
Furness, an avowed Leeds United fanatic, admits that integrating the two businesses into one was “a massive challenge”.
“Everyone was working 12-hour days to get the stock moved up from Nottingham to Leeds. Cigarettes, confectionery, groceries, alcohol - you name it, all the products you’d find in a convenience store.” The stock is now in Leeds.
Young’s erected a purpose-built warehouse four and a half years ago with a view to extending the extra land at the back.
The time has well and truly come - Furness is waiting for planning permission for an extension, which he hopes will be built by the New Year.