Thursday , May 19 2022
250 years of Jarrold 1

250 years of Jarrold 

Featured in issue 44 – March 2020 Spotlight Feature

Jarrold has come a long way since John Jarrold opened a small drapers in Woodbridge, Suffolk, in 1770.

It has travelled over the border and into Norfolk for a start! This year marks the 250th anniversary of the independent department store and, over that time, the business has grown and flourished into the business it is today: not least the flagship store in London Street, Norwich.

And let’s not forget the fantastic food and drink offering. Most recently the Norwich store opened a seafood bar, The Bay, and launched its own brand range of food and drink in collaboration with local and independent producers.

Jarrold is at the forefront of experiential retail, with six places to eat and drink: customers can choose from Benji’s; The Pantry on Floor 3; The Exchange with its wood-fired pizza own; Chapters coffee shop; the Wine Bar in the Deli and now The Bay.

Such is its success that two launch events for ‘Jarrold 250 Years: A History’, by Pete Goodrum, which has a foreword by none other than Stephen Fry, sold out within days.

As the book details, by the 1920s, customers were being well-catered for, with a restaurant and café: ‘the third floor restaurant had quickly become a place to be seen in Norwich, and even the cloakrooms were in demand.’ The advert for it proudly boasts: ‘all cakes and pastries are made on the premises.’

Development Director Michelle Jarrold is a seventh-generation member of the family working in the business. She says: ‘Jarrold has always been a bit ahead of the game in offering destination restaurants.’

Growing up, she remembers there being two restaurants on the top floor, one waitress service and the other self-service, the latter being ‘the foresight of my father – he went to look at these restaurants on the continent and came back with the idea.’

She has fond childhood memories of being taken up to what was then known as the Wedgewood Room and being treated to the ‘legendary Jarrold bun.’ She recalls: ‘I remember going up on a Wednesday afternoon, when it was a half day at school, with my cousin Susie and my mum, and thinking it was the best thing ever – such a treat.’

Nowadays The Pantry occupies the top floor spot. ‘It’s a real community space – we get the same people coming to The Pantry every day.’

Benji’s, on the first floor, is ‘the one I use the most,’ says Michelle, whether it’s for work or with her family.

Chapters, by the books department on the lower ground floor, has been another great success story. ‘It’s always busy,’ says Michelle.

The Exchange, also on the lower ground floor, has become a destination restaurant, and the nearby Wine Bar in the Deli just seems to work, as Michelle says: ‘It’s quite strange drinking gin and tonic in the middle of a shop but for some reason people absolutely love it.’

The Deli itself now stocks its own brand products and food from all over the world. ‘It’s a really lovely Aladdin’s Den,’ says Michelle.

And now there’s The Bay seafood and wine bar, on the second floor. ‘Spoil yourself rotten with a nice glass of something,’ recommends Michelle. ‘I love The Bay because I love seafood.’

With six different dining experiences on offer to customers, Michelle says, ‘it is clear that Jarrold is moving forward: food has become a massive part of what we do. In my living memory it’s always been important but in the last five years, it’s been really vital.’

Throughout the year Jarrold will be surprising customers with 2500 gifts to say thank you, which can include anything from a free cup of tea and cake to a £250 Jarrold gift card.

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