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Sweet success for the latest Rowntree confectionery entrepreneur

A major move into new premises at Thorp Arch Estate has been made by a fast-growing business launched by the latest confectionery entrepreneur from the world-famous Rowntree family.

Confectionery wholesale business, Bon Bon’s, founded in 2007 by Mark Rowntree, great grandson of social reformer Joseph Rowntree, has relocated to 13,300 sq ft Unit 1 Ash Way, to consolidate the company in one premises, enhance efficiency and cater for further growth.

Born out of the Bon Bon sweet shop business that Mark started with his wife Lesley, his wholesale company sources a wide range of luxury confectionery, from Belgian chocolates to boiled sweets, gourmet mallows and Specialist liquorices and supplies hundreds of independent retailers, farm shops, delicatessens, department stores and tourist attractions throughout the UK including the Tower of London, British Museum, Kew Gardens, Alton Towers and Chatsworth House.

Mark Rowntree, who brought in co-director, Peter Julian in 2008, has created double-digit business growth every year, in spite of launching during the UK economy’s darkest hour, and now has 85 staff and a turnover fast approaching £5m.

Mark said: Although we do not have mass market aspirations, we started out in a unit the size of a residential garage on a small private business estate in Wetherby. Our rapid expansion meant that we were finally based in three separate premises, which was not great for internal communications and also meant that forklift trucks had to travel between them, whatever the weather.

We are heavily reliant on good local people and did not want to change our well-established packing team so it was very fortunate that Thorp Arch Estate enabled us to move the business into one building. We now have a purpose-built clean room, a warehouse where we can stack pallets six, rather than three, high and a far better working environment for our staff in an attractive parkland setting close to the national motorway network.

The Thorp Arch Estate team has been very supportive and accommodating by having our new premises reconfigured to meet our needs. They could not have made it easier for us.


Director of Wharfedale Property Management, which manages the Estate for owner, Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust, Tim Munns, said: We have a huge range of units and are always happy to adapt premises so that we accommodate any business sector.

We’re delighted to welcome all companies to the Estate but one of Yorkshire most famous names in the same line of business for which it became renown is something of a bonus.

Mark Rowntree’s wife still runs a Bon Bons confectionery shop in Leeds. The two-million sq. ft. Thorp Arch Estate, a former war time munitions factory, is the base for a diverse range of more than 140 businesses, from start-ups to large Plcs, operating in local, national and international markets and employing more than 1,800 people. Thorp Arch Retail Park, which forms part of the estate, was the first out-of-town shopping centre in the country when it opened in 1959 and is complemented by a variety of leisure facilities

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