CHESTERFIELD CHAMPION: ‘The town has a vibrant and buzzing town centre’

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I am James Pogson, I ‘m 45 years old and have lived and worked in Chesterfield all my life.

I am director of Northern Tea Merchants – a third generation family business which was established in 1959.

Our shop and café are well-known to many however, not many people know that we also produce more than 100 million tea bags, and roast over 200 tonnes of coffee per year.

This is then supplied to a wide variety of customers, which include big names in the hospitality industry and national food retailers such as Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Harrods.

We have also just received a Great Taste Award for Harrods drinking chocolate which we developed as an exclusive recipe for them.

1. What’s your best memory of the town?

It has to be when HRH The Queen visited Chesterfield in July 1977, during the Silver Jubilee year celebrations.

I look back on that day with the magical romance of childhood.

It was a day filled with pageantry and genuine enthusiasm, it felt like the entire town lined the streets of Chesterfield and every child received a commemorative silver spoon.

I was stood right outside the Town Hall and can vividly recall HRH waving as the car drove passed.

2. What development do you think will make the biggest difference to the town?

When it is complete and finished properly, it has to be Chesterfield Waterside. It really will be fantastic for the town if everything goes as planned.

Once it’s done and the canal is opened once again it gives rise to a wonderful opportunity for the Boroughs of Staveley and Brimington too.

3. How would you describe Chesterfield to someone who has never visited?

Better than any other town in the vicinity. Chesterfield has a vibrant and buzzing town centre and market, alongside a fantastic food industry and pretty good nightlife.

4. What are the positives of running a business here?

Location – we are within an hour and 20 minutes of 70 per cent of the population. There is an excellent rail-link straight to London in just over two hours, yet we still get to enjoy great proximity to natural beauty – in just 20 minutes you’re out into the glorious Peak District.

5. Who or what do you turn to in Chesterfield for business advice?

I have been in business for over 28 years and tend to paddle my own canoe.

However, Destination Chesterfield provides a fantastic network.

6. Who do you admire in the community?

Vic Risorto at Calabria Cucina Italiana is a great business man, and Huw Bowen is absolutely the best ambassador we could have for the town. And lets not forget the Duke of Devonshire.

7. What are the aspirations of your business?

Continue to grow Northern Tea Merchants in a sustainable way and provide even more secure jobs within the town.