Lancashire wine supremo Tom Jones is named Entrepreneur of the Year

A Lancashire wine merchant has been named Entrepreneur of the Year.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 1st July 2022, 12:30 pm

Tom Jones of The Whalley Wine Shop picked up the accolade this week at the Octopus Awards, having been nominated by Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans.

In 2010, at the age of 24, Tom was made redundant following the closure of his previous employer Threshers Off License. However, seeing the potential of the empty site, he sought funding to purchase the lease from the administrator and reopened it as The Whalley Wine Shop.

In its first full year the store turned over £450,000 and 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.

Tom Jones of the Whalley Wine Shop

Tom and his team have also opened The Whalley Wine Bar next to the shop, serving wines, spirits and craft beers.

>>>Read more about the new bar here

Nigel Evans said: "Tom offers an inspirational story which can encourage everyone. Rather than being left despondent and beaten following his redundancy, Tom saw an opportunity to create a high-quality fine wine outlet and within 5months his dream had become a reality.

“In the resulting decade the Whalley Wine shop has become a magnet for residence and the wider community for its great staff, fantastic deals and with shelves stacked like a Champions League Football Squad.

The team at the Whalley Wine Bar, next to the wine shop. Tom Jones is pictured far right.

“Even during a global pandemic, Tom saw an opportunity to look to their long-term strategy and how they could add something new and exciting for Whalley. This took form in a purpose designed wine bar with more seating, space and facilities, where customers can relax and enjoy themselves with high quality fine wine, which 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 to add visiting it 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.”

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans