Customers angry at ‘independent’ Harris & Hoole

49% of H&H owned by large supermarket

49% of Harris & Hoole owned by large supermarket

If you’re in a couple of the big cities around the UK, you may have bumped into one of the independent coffee houses called Harris & Hoole. With great coffees and beautiful stores its not surprising that they are treasured by their customers and have, up to this day, had a secure customer base. However its come to light that the company, founded by the 3 Australian Tolley siblings, is actually backed by Tesco.

Tesco has a 49% ‘non-commanding’ share in the business, not something either side wants to shout about too loudly, yet neither denies. This news, perhaps rightly so, has annoyed loyal customers who like the businesses ‘indie’ feel. Many customers purposely boycott the larger chains such as Starbucks and Costa, wanting to try and encourage growth of the smaller independent stores.

Their website and their branding promotes a ‘family-run’ business look, with images of the Tolley siblings busy at work being splashed about. Harris and Hoole have never denied their backing however, but it is somewhat buried in their site. They say “…to be able to provide the high street with fantastic coffee takes investment and backing, and few people know the high street better than Tesco – who have made a non-controlling investment in the new business to allow the Tolleys to realise their dream.”

Whether this is going to deeply affect the numbers pouring through the successful H&H doors, we will only know later in the year it seems.

Harris & Hoole currently have over 30 stores nationwide, including their latest one in Walton-on-Thames.

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