The Tour de France has just cruised its way through the beautiful Yorkshire landscapes, but there’s more than just beauty to God’s own country – it’s also launched many of today’s most well known businesses.
You don’t have to be a cycling fan to recognise just what Yorkshire has to offer. From natural beauty to history and culture, Yorkshire has been on the map for years as one of the greatest counties in Britain. It’s no wonder that the region is home to some hugely successful businesses, so if you’re looking for somewhere to base your start up, you could do a lot worse than some of Yorkshire’s finest examples.
Marks and Spencer
One of the biggest and best examples to come from our beautiful Yorkshire is Marks and Spencer, which was founded in Leeds in 1884 by Sir Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer. Back in the 19th century, Marks was lent £5 by Isaac Jowitt Dewhirst to start his own Penny Bazaar in Leeds’ Kirkgate Market. Ten years later, Marks offered a partnership to Dewhirst’s cashier, Tom Spencer, and the stall became a permanent fixture in the Leeds market.
Today, the company employs more than 85,000 people and made £10 billion in 2013. Last year, it also celebrated its most recent branch opening the new Leeds Trinity shopping centre.
Betty’s and Taylors of Harrogate
Back in 1919 in our very own hometown of Harrogate, Swiss confectioner Frederick Belmont opened his very own tea room, Betty’s, on Cambridge Crescent. Belmont was so entranced by the beauty of Harrogate that he decided to stay, claiming that the Yorkshire air reminded him of his native Switzerland.
The tea rooms soon expanded across Yorkshire and became renowned for their high quality, homemade and locally sourced ingredients, before merging with Taylor’s of Harrogate in the 60s. Today, customers queue out onto the streets of York and Ilkley just to get a seat in our county’s most prestigious eatery
Over in the nearby hillside of Knaresborough, furniture company Bedstar lives and breathes in internet format, supplying high quality beds and accessories to Britain’s residents. Despite being based on the internet, the company is headquartered in the peaceful market town of Knaresborough, which is highly apt for a business which relies on people getting a good night’s sleep.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Bedstar was founded in quiet Knaresborough was its annual ‘bed race’, a hugely popular community event that has been running every June since 1966!