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Barbers uses Tesco as launchpad for £5m business

PUBLISHED: 11:16 27 December 2018

Leigh Gould pictured with Gary Bell. Picture: Gould Barbers/ToTheEnd

Leigh Gould pictured with Gary Bell. Picture: Gould Barbers/ToTheEnd

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A barber shop double act that started in our region is set to rake in £5 million after striking a deal with supermarket giant Tesco to open dozens of concessions in its stores.

Gould Barblers Bald Polish. Picture: Gould Barbers/ToTheEndGould Barblers Bald Polish. Picture: Gould Barbers/ToTheEnd

Brothers Darran and Leigh Gould operate 19 Gould Barbers outlets in Tesco stores up and down the country, and have plans in place for another 50 next year.

The brothers previously worked in their father’s barber shop for 20 years before starting their own business, opening their first shop in King’s Lynn in 2001.

In 2016, they partnered with Tesco and entered retail space at their nearby Tesco Extra store in King’s Lynn.

Since then, a further 12 barbershops in Tesco stores across the country have been opened.

Darran said: “Then we got invited to the Tesco head office where they told us that they’d been looking at the barber concept for a while and would like us to expand. And they have lots of space in their stores, in particular Tesco Extra, they are looking to fill.”

Gould Barbers opened its first outlet in Suffolk last month, at Tesco Extra in Fordham Heath, Newmarket.

As well as operating from Tesco Express and Tesco superstore in King’s Lynn, Gould Barbers has a shop in Downham Market in Norfolk and others across the East of England, the Home Counties and the Midlands.

The pair currently employ 100 barbers but with the additional 50 stores it will create 300 to 400 new jobs.

The expansion has been good for the bank balance, too, with revenue rocketing from £500,000 to £3 million last year.

Next year’s target is £5 million.

Darran puts Gould’s success down to not just catering for hipsters, like many of the new salons that have sprung up.

“We’ve been successful because we’re not the cool and trendy type that’s popped up everywhere that serves you drinks. We cater for everyone, mothers, OAPs, everyone.

“Also, with Tesco, the opening times and free parking are a huge plus for someone looking for a haircut.”

Tesco, like other supermarket giants and department stores, has been desperately trying to find ways to monetise excess space. One way it can do this is by leasing out extra capacity to other retailers.

Darran added: “Tesco have been very supportive in helping us to develop and grow our business from a small family owned barber shop to a national chain. It has been an incredible journey.”

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