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Focus on...Johnston's

An independent retailer who has been feeding the people of Hull for 50 years has unveiled a new look and new ideas as he positions the business to meet changing lifestyles.

Ted Johnston has overseen a major refurbishment of the Johnston’s shop in Carr Lane, Hull, which he opened 28 years ago.

Ted, now 77, joined the food department at the Hammonds store in Ferensway in 1965. He opened his own shop in 1987 after management of the store, which was then under the Binns brand, decided to stop selling fresh food.

Ted said: “They said the food was getting in the way of the other departments. I looked around for somewhere else and set up the business here.”

Ted and his team of eight opened in a former fashion shop in Carr Lane with equipment from the closing House of Fraser food halls.  From the opening day the business boomed, with many former customers of Hammonds food hall appreciative of been able to continue to obtain food of the highest quality unavailable elsewhere.

Over the years he has been followed into the business by son Edward, who runs the butchery and fresh meat side, and his daughter Emily Taylor, who now runs the bakery side of the business.

The shop expanded into the adjacent unit 10 years ago after the closure of a florist’s shop, and now the business enters a new era with a workforce which has grown to 16, six of whom were there on day one.

Awareness and demand for the shop’s products soared as a result of Hull BID's Yum! Festival in the city centre and Ted is confident of a bright future.

He said: “The Yum! Festival was fantastic. We sold thousands of sausage rolls and pies and could have sold much more but we just couldn’t keep up with demand. Next year we will have a bigger space and we will be more geared up for it.

“It was a great PR exercise as well because we also had more people coming into the shop to buy the things they had tried at the festival. Now they’ll find that we’ve altered the configuration of the shop to provide more hot food counters, more self-service and greater convenience. We’re different from the supermarkets because we focus more on quality than price, but even then we’re still cheaper than a lot of them as well.”

Johnston’s will continue to offer the butchery, bakery, deli and greengrocers service but will also sell a wider range of food to go, with more hot meals and with produce packaged for kitchen convenience.

Ted said: “Customer buying habits are changing. Traditional shopping trends are dying out and people are buying smaller portions rather than joints of meat.  They want to prepare a meal with the minimum of fuss, so as well as offering our pies cooked, we will offer them ready to cook so customers can prepare and serve the family a meal in 30 minutes.

“The majority of city centre residents are young and they want instant meals, so we’ll be looking at what we can do with that while still serving traditional food of the highest quality.” 

Kathryn Shillito, HullBID city centre manager, said: “The Yum! Festival is all about good, local food and providing a platform for our members to promote themselves. It was great to see Ted’s team doing so well. We’re delighted that they are also seeing the benefits with more trade in the shop and we’re confident they’ll enjoy even more success as a result of the changes they have made.”

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Business highlight

Focus on...Johnston's

An independent retailer who has been feeding the people of Hull for 50 years has unveiled a new look and new ideas as he positions the business to meet changing lifestyles.

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