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Cheese champion attracts investment

The region’s largest independent cheese wholesaler is set for continued growth having secured an investment boost from Finance Yorkshire.

Fine Cheeses Limited, which trades as Michael Lee – purveyor of fine cheese, has secured a £30,000 Business Loan to assist with its rapid expansion.

The Featherstone-based business, which has leased a second unit adjacent to its existing premises, will use the investment to purchase a new refrigerated storage facility.

Fine Cheeses supplies around 600 customers, including delis, farm shops and restaurants, across the North and Midlands.

Known as ‘the cheese champion’ by many of his clients, founder and Managing Director Michael Lee has more than 30 years’ experience in the sourcing and supply of gourmet cheeses, having owned an award-winning deli in Beverley, worked for several leading supermarkets, and run market stalls in Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge and Holmfirth.

The business offers a vast range of UK-produced cheeses, as well as importing carefully-selected cheeses from across Europe, in addition to other fine foods such as charcuterie and marinated vegetables.

It is certainly at the forefront of a burgeoning market. In the UK, cheese is bought by over 98 per cent of British households, and there are around 700 named cheeses made here. We consume around 700,000 tonnes of cheese each year, and cheddar is the UK’s favourite, accounting for 55 per cent of household purchases.

Commenting on the investment, finance manager at Fine Cheeses Ltd, Aimee Satur said: “This assistance from Finance Yorkshire came at a really opportune time for the business. We are growing rapidly and larger refrigeration facilities were essential if we were to continue to supply a growing customer base.”

Finance Yorkshire’s Melanie Reynolds said: “Fine Cheeses Limited has an excellent reputation in the industry, not least because of Michael Lee’s wealth of knowledge and experience. We are confident that, with additional manufacturing in place, the business will capitalise even further on its success.”

Finance Yorkshire’s investments to date have created and safeguarded 10,196 jobs across Yorkshire and the Humber, increased turnover by £309 million and generated private sector leverage of £179 million.

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

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Melanie Reynolds of Finance Yorkshire and Aimee Satur and Michael Lee of Fine Cheeses Limited

 

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