Leeds businesswoman purchases UK franchise

Neluka Dunning

Leeds businesswoman Neluka Dunning has acquired the UK franchise license for national alterations and repairs business, store, The Zip Yard, in a six-figure deal.

The UK franchise deal will see Mrs Dunning take control of 15 The Zip Yard stores based across England, Scotland and Wales with ambitious growth plans already underway.

Under Mrs Dunning’s ownership, The Zip Yard has signed a deal with Tesco to trial the alterations stores within a number of its Tesco Extra stores, with the first opening last week in Stretford, Old Trafford, Manchester. The second will open in Toton, Nottingham next month.

Mrs Dunning – who is originally from Swansea but has lived in Leeds for the past 20 years – took over the Chapel Allerton The Zip Yard store in 2019, improving customer service and brand perception which saw monthly sales increase by 20 per cent in the first few months.

The pandemic and lockdowns impacted the business severely but since reopening, sales have returned to normal levels. This success led her to consider the potential for other Zip Yard stores and the deal for the UK franchise was struck earlier this year.

Mrs Dunning said: “The Zip Yard is a special business as it is the only national tailoring service that specialises in alterations and repairs, with spacious fitting rooms, specialist tailors and seamstresses on site in every store to ensure customer garments fit perfectly.

“For me, what sets The Zip Yard apart is our level of customer service. We want every customer to feel they’ve had a personal and highly professional experience.

“From the greeting they receive at the front desk, to the consultation, measuring and pinning by one of our expert seamstresses or tailors through to the care we take with each garment when it is left with us in store. Customers receive a text message as soon as their garment is ready. It’s a slick service, which we know our customers love.

“Sustainability is something we’re passionate about, with almost £140 million worth of clothes being thrown away each year, we recognise the opportunity we have to make a difference by rescuing clothing from landfill. From zip repairs to altering trouser lengths or tailoring a favourite jacket or dress – our company mission is to give as many people as possible the opportunity to extend the life of their clothes and love and feel great in what they own.

“There are currently 40 Zip Yard stores in Ireland, so the potential for growth in GB is huge – as I see it, it’s my job to make The Zip Yard a nationally recognised brand, and nurturing our current franchisee relationships teamed with our relationship with Tesco and opening more stores across England, Scotland and Wales is key to fulfilling that potential.”

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