Initially, Nick Tolley had claimed that Taylor St Baristas – a speciality coffee house he started with his two siblings in 2006 – would not become a big company. “It was a quirky business that you needed a map and a compass to find as it’s in the back alleys of London,” he said.
“Taylor Street was more about coffee geekery and different brewing techniques. With Harris + Hoole we thought we could bring a far better cup of coffee to the high street itself in a way Taylor Street wasn’t set up to do.”
The Tolley siblings, who set up a partnership with Tesco three years ago, will maintain their 51 per cent stake. However, Andrew, Nick and Laura Tolley have opted to leave Harris + Hoole to re-focus their efforts on Taylor Street.
Commenting on their departure, CEO Nick Tolley said: “It feels like the right time for me and my siblings to return to focusing on Taylor Street, leaving the excellent Harris + Hoole management team in charge.”
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He added that at the same time that Harris + Hoole had been growing, Taylor Street Baristas had also gone from strength to strength. The coffee house is set to open its first international store in New York, following a cash injection of £1.9m from crowdfunding site Crowdcube.
Taylor Street launched the UK’s first coffee bond in 2013 in the hopes of raising between £1.5m and £3m to double the number of its venues by 2016.
With four shops planned to open in 2015, Nick Tolley announced that the raised finance would go to creating another six stores in 2016.
The move comes amid rumours that Tesco is planning to divest its 49 per cent share of the coffee retailer, which will now be run by operational director Colin Bell and CFO Richard Harpham. Tesco is already in the process of selling off Dunnhumby – the mastermind behind the Tesco Clubcard – and is reviewing the sale of its Korean chain Homeplus.
Nick Tolley added: “I’m incredibly proud of what Harris + Hoole has achieved in just three years, from a standing start to 46 stores and a team of more than 500 fantastic people whom I’ve hugely enjoyed working with.”
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