A new 3000sq ft farm shop in the centre of Harrogate is proving a boon for 45 North Yorks farmers, some of whom have seen the shop grow to become their largest customer.
Showcased as one of the UK’s leading farm retailers at the annual conference of the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association, Weetons carries around 60,000 of stock on a typical day, half of which is produced by local farmers.
“We chose Harrogate because market research revealed that its demographics and profile were absolutely right for our farm shop,” explained managing director Andrew Loftus.
“We have been able to place orders worth in excess of 100,000 with our local producers in the run-up to Christmas and are confident that this will rise even further by 25 December.”
The shop has taken the novel approach of labelling each product with the number of miles it has travelled, but Mr Loftus said that was not what drew the crowds.
It is the minimalist interior and town centre location of the shop which marks it out from other farm retailers, he claimed.
Graham Lacey, manager of The Farmers Cart, said Weetons was a useful outlet for vegetables grown on the farm.
“We don’t do a lot of wholesale because we sell so much through our own farm shop, but it is a useful outlet for extra stock.
It gives us access to another market – one aimed at younger, business people.”
Tom Wallis, whose Lowna Dairy business supplies the shop with a range of natural and flavoured goats’ cheeses, said Weetons was a good way of reaching food lovers.
“They are taking quite a bit of our cheese and want to take quite a bit more,” he said.