Company director Genevieve Sharples (nee Holdsworth) and managing director David Sharples.
Clare Burnett

Member Article

Harrods family-run chocolatier suppliers set for success with £123k investment

Family-run Holdsworth Chocolates, which has supplied Harrods for over 25 years has expanded its manufacturing facilities with a £123k investment.

Holdsworth supplies other fine food halls and department stores and after a significant increase in turnover, expanded to create a larger manufacturing and office facility in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales.

This expansion was made possible with a grant from the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) of almost £25k.

This formed a crucial part of a £123k investment in fitting out new premises at Deepdale Business Park, Bakewell, and purchasing new machinery.

Seven new jobs have also been created as a result of the company’s expansion.

David Sharples, managing director of Holdsworth Chocolates, said: “Prior to this project taking place, production was running at capacity.

“Holdsworth Chocolates was experiencing good levels of growth but there was a need to relocate to larger premises in order to meet production demand and retain and grow our customer base.

“It was also vital that we relocated locally, within Bakewell, to ensure that our existing local employees could be retained; and for us to have the opportunity to recruit more skilled team members from the surrounding area in future.

“Without the RGF we would not have been able to raise sufficient finance to carry out the project within the desired timescales.

“This in turn would have jeopardised our ability to service current customer demand and create the almost immediate growth we needed to meet demand from new areas.

“It’s great news that, thanks to this RGF funding, we have been able to drive our business forward and sell our delicious chocolates to thousands of new customers.”

The firm was established in Bakewell in 1988 by Barbara Holdsworth, who, driven by a passion for chocolate and the firm belief that a market existed for premium handcrafted chocolates, began to blend the best possible ingredients from around the world to realise her dream.

Barbara’s daughter Genevieve took up the reins in 2002.

She said: “We operate in a very exciting and fun industry, but competition is tough and standards are high. The RGF funding that we received couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Among many other things it’s enabled us to achieve a coveted SALSA accreditation for operational safety and hygiene - something we would have found near impossible at our old site and which is quickly becoming a benchmark standard for customer partners.

“The room to grow is already paying massive dividends in terms of production capacity and we look forward to contributing more and more to the local economy as we continue to expand here at Holdsworth Chocolates.”

Leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, said: “It has been a pleasure to help this local business and others in the Dales not only by pointing them to RGF funding but also, through our free business advice service, assisting in the application process.

“The paperwork involved in putting together a bid can often put off would-be applicants, but we are committed to helping local businesses that are working hard to expand because they truly are the lifeblood of the Derbyshire Dales.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Clare Burnett .

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