Two long-time friends founded Julian Graves in 1987. The inspiration for putting up the business came when Nigel Morris and Nick Shutts saw an opportunity in the market. Together the friends put up a high street store, which became the start of the business.
Prior to putting up a high-end store, Nick was already into sales, as he previously sold meat that was pre-packed. In order to start a shop, he borrowed capital from his father and started running a market stall. In his stall, Nick sold baking items like dried currants, sultanas and raisins. The business was a success, as the products were sold immediately, straight from the cardboard boxes. To improve the business’ speed of sales and customer service, Nick decided to pre-pack the stores’ stocks. He also expanded his product line by selling cherries, ground almonds and walnuts.
Nick Shutts also started getting stalls in other marketplaces, as well as in new shopping malls, in order that they could expand their operations. Soon, the number of stalls reached 12 and the friends decided to open one high street store. Their purpose for putting up the store was mainly to have the needed space for packing, and then distributing their stocks. The business was originally named Food for Thought.
In 1993 however, Nick’s friend Nigel decided to invest in the business and thus they decided to name the store differently. Both agreed to use their middle names to name the business. This was then the birth of Julian (Nick’s middle name) and Graves (Nigel’s middle name).
In 1996, Julian Graves started to implement a rapid expansion program. This led the total number of Julian Graves shops to more than 85. Four years later, the company moved into a new facility, which incorporated the company’s headquarters, its processing facility and its warehouse. This new facility is located in Kingswinford, specifically at Penshett Industrial Estate.
The company’s expansion continued when it opened retail outlets in 2001. In the same year, the company was awarded the ‘Rising Star of the Year’ by Retail Week. Julian Graves was also nominated ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by The Birmingham Post.
Currently, Julian Graves is implementing the second phase of their expansion program. In this plan, the company aims to achieve 500 stores in three years’ time.
Headquarters: Burton on Trent,UK
Ownership Type: Private
Demography: retail products consumers