Wednesday, December 18, 2013

News: Growth in store for Urban Pantry

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A former Aston Comprehensive School pupil has gone from building buildings to building up his own business - the Urban Pantry, a fine-food delicatessen in Crookes.

Reece Lippolis opened the deli with wife Grace in March 2012 after taking a leap of faith from construction management to food retail.

Since opening, Reece has been working hard to provide the right kind of products, build connections with the local community and continually grow the business by providing new services and creating cooperative associations with other businesses.

Reece said: "It was a big step, leaving a secure well-paid job, to embark on such an uncertain project as starting a shop, especially in the current economic climate - but it felt right to swap my high-vis jacket for an apron!

"Knowing little about retail when I started made it more of a challenge, but believing in the products and having a clear aim in terms of the "local" and "quality" ethos made some aspects easier.

"I've gradually built up a large range of stock and have been getting good feedback about the products we offer. The best being regular custom, of which we have a lot. I think the tricky thing at the moment for us is trying to reach out to people in other parts of Sheffield as lots of people still don't know we exist."

Helping to spread the word was success of the deli at recent awards. This year, the Urban Pantry was named as the winner of "Best Independent Retailer" category at the Eat Sheffield Awards and was runner up in Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013 "Best Independent Retailer" category.

Growing the business has seen the deli expand into different areas including cheese wedding cakes as a popular alternative (or addition) to a traditional cake.

The store has recently added salad and deli boxes to its range and is expanding its popular selection of pre-designed and bespoke Christmas hampers and targeting more corporate clients.

Reece added: "Our aim is to grow and develop the business, step-by-step, and always in response to our customers' needs, and in a way that can be sustained into the future."

Urban Pantry website

Images: Urban Pantry / Facebook

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