Tom Jones of the Whalley Wine Shop and Bar has been announced as a winner of the Octopus Entrepreneur of the Year Award, after having been nominated his Member of Parliament and MP for the Ribble Valley, Nigel Evans.
The Entrepreneur Awards celebrate the best entrepreneurs across the UK who have thrived during the last year, for example, by starting or growing a business, supporting their local community, or adapting to become more sustainable. By giving these inspiring role models a platform, the awards hope to encourage others who want to start a business, by showing them that the possibilities are endless.
In 2010, at the age of 24, Tom Jones was made redundant, following the closure of his previous employer, Threshers Off License. However, seeing the potential of the now empty site, Tom sought funding to purchase the lease from the administrator and reopen it as The Whalley Wine Shop. The shop quickly became a huge success and the store turned over £450,000 in its first full year.
12 Years on, The Whalley Wine Shop is officially 'The Best Local Wine Shop in the Country', awarded by the industry’s leading worldwide publication Decanter. When awarding the prestigious prize, the Decanter judges said “The Whalley Wine Shop remains a beacon of wine excellence and enjoyment in Lancashire, with an outstanding range, revamped website and new wine bar situated next door to the shop”.
With a fantastic team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable people, The Whalley Wine Shop has turned Whalley into a wine lovers’ destination. Together the shop and the newly opened bar combine to offer customers in Whalley one of the finest wine experiences anywhere. Not only can customers try a selection of fine wines in the bar, expertly advised by experienced staff, but they can also pop a few yards next door to the award-winning shop and buy from a high-quality range of fine wines, craft beers and quality spirits, with personal advice and food matching suggestions from manager Matt Monk and his team.
It is for reasons such as these that when approached to nominate an entrepreneur from his constituency, Nigel Evans looked no further than Tom Jones, and the Whalley Wine Shop and Bar.
Speaking of the news Nigel said:
“Tom offers an inspirational story which can encourage everyone. Rather than being left despondent and beaten following bad news, Tom saw an opportunity to create a high-quality fine wine outlet and within 5 months his dream had become a reality.
“Over the next decade, The Whalley Wine shop has become a magnet for locals and visitors from across the county, for its great staff, fantastic deals and with shelves stacked like a Champions League Football Squad.
“Even during a global pandemic, Tom saw an opportunity to look to their long-term strategy and explore how they could add something new and exciting for Whalley. This took form as a purpose designed wine bar with more seating, space and facilities, where customers can relax and enjoy themselves with high quality fine wine, and it has been a great success.
“It is no surprise to me that Tom was successful in winning this award and I would encourage everyone who hasn’t already been to add a visit to the Whalley Wine Shop and Bar to their to do list”
Chris Hulatt, Co-Founder of Octopus, said:
“When we asked Members of Parliament to nominate entrepreneurs in their constituency, we didn’t anticipate just how many fantastic entries we would receive.
"The awards are a great way to celebrate local entrepreneurs with their MPs and highlight some of the brilliant work they have been doing. As a company that works closely with many entrepreneurs, it has been interesting hearing the winners’ business journeys. I look forward to welcoming the winners to Octopus for the day later in the year."
Tom Jones commented:
“We were surprised and delighted in equal measure to be put forward by Nigel Evans MP as the Ribble Valley nominee for the Octopus Entrepreneur awards. To have the cross-party Parliament and business judging panel pick us as winners is absolutely fantastic news! A real credit to the hard work that my wife Jen and the Whalley Wine Shop and Whalley Wine Bar teams put into the business day in and day out.
“We are just a small part of the thriving and dynamic business community that exists in the Ribble Valley and hope that Nigel Evans can continue to lend his support to the high street retailers and other small businesses in the Ribble Valley to help them prosper."