Hugh Rice moves to shiny new Fruit Market offices as growth continues

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 23 Apr 2019

A well-known Hull jewellers has moved to shiny new offices in the city’s Fruit Market as it prepares for the next phase of its growth.

Hugh Rice, which was founded in Hull in 1965, outgrew its former home in the city centre, and was on the hunt for a new headquarters as part of a five-year business plan laid out in 2015.

The search for a new home is now over, as Huge Rice became the latest company to set up in the thriving Fruit Market area.

Mike Rice, chairman at Huge Rice, said: “We’ve been fortunate enough to have enjoyed successes over the past four years and our plan has been a fantastic guide for us.

“We’ve just launched an updated strategy to take us through to 2022, which is more reflective of the current economic climate and will allow every department to head in the same direction and achieve our goals.

“We’re incredibly proud to invest in our home city of Hull. We’ve always been a city centre business and we were very keen to stay central, as opposed to moving to an out-of-town development.”

Hugh Rice chairman Mike Rice, second left, and sales and marketing director James Rice, third left, with Wykeland’s David Donkin, left, and John Gouldthorp (Neil Holmes Photography Limited)

Founded in 1965 by Hugh Rice, who opened the company’s first store in George Street in 1971, the business has grown strongly, expanding from Hull and Beverley throughout Yorkshire and into the North East.

Read more: This new shop has opened in St Stephen's Shopping Centre

The business now employs 350 people across 16 outlets, with most of its staff based in the stores.

Its offices are home to Hugh Rice’s Central Support Unit, which backs up the company’s retail operations.

The business has worked closely with Wykeland Group, one of Yorkshire and the Humber’s leading commercial developers, on its new 6,000 sq ft premises.

The current St Stephen's store opened in 2010

Hugh Rice bought the building from Wykeland and the two companies worked in partnership on its redevelopment.

James Rice, sales and marketing director at Hugh Rice, said: “We’re a Hull company and Hull is a maritime city, so a headquarters on the waterfront was the perfect choice for us.

“The location is beautiful, with incredible views and a vibrant local cultural scene, full of thriving independent businesses and restaurants.

Read more: Hull digital agency Strawberry announces expansion to Manchester

“Our new environment is perfect to encourage effectiveness from our team and it provides a visitor experience which is much more akin to our stores.”

Hugh Rice’s retail operations include luxury Hugh Rice stores in Beverley and Harrogate, with its flagship outlet in Hull’s St Stephen’s Shopping Centre.

Hugh Rice staff hold a meeting in one of the breakout areas in their new Fruit Market offices. (Neil Holmes Photography Limited)

The business also operates three Luxe stores, in St Stephen’s, Beverley and Wakefield, and 10 Pandora outlets in locations from Harrogate to Hartlepool.

David Donkin, Wykeland’s property director, said: “We’ve been delighted to work with the Hugh Rice team on their relocation and to welcome another blue chip local business to the Fruit Market.

Read more: Hull's retail crisis: The staggering number of empty shops gathering dust in the city centre

“The Hugh Rice management team were attracted to the Fruit Market in part by the appeal of becoming part of a thriving community.

“In turn, their presence will support the continuing growth of local, independent and creative businesses that are benefiting from the growing presence of leading employers in the area.”

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