Chesterfield champion: Variety of markets attracts people to town centre

James Pogson, Northern Tea Merchants
James Pogson, Northern Tea Merchants

My name is James Pogson, I am 46 years old and I’ve lived in Chesterfield for 43 years,

working in the town for almost 30 years. My business is Northern Tea Merchants.

My family has been in the tea and coffee trade since 1926 when my grandfather worked for

the Ceylon Tea Growers Association in Nottingham. In 1936, he started his own business on

Chatsworth Road which he called the Spire Tea Company, which many local people still

remember today. My father went to work for him in 1951 and, by 1959, he’d developed the

wholesale side of the company to such a degree that he started his own business – Northern

Tea Merchants, which was based on Whitting Valley Road.

In 1978, Northern Tea Merchants moved to its existing premises and it now employs 28 local

people. We manufacture approximately 100 million teabags per year, roast nearly 200

tonnes of coffee beans per year, pack for five national brands and supply our teas and

coffees to around 3,000 businesses located within a 100-mile radius of Chesterfield.

I have also been lucky enough to be involved with the UK Tea & Infusions Association, at an

executive board level, and have made several trips to China and other Asian countries as a

result of this.

1. What has been the highlight for your organisation over the past year?

Finding a completely world exclusive coffee for one of our illustrious clients from Jamaica.

2. What are your future plans? (new products/services, growth, taking on

apprentices, news etc.)

The work we are doing nationally for the supermarkets is growing and growing, and this has

led to installing new packing machinery and recruiting additional members of staff in order to

consolidate the extra packing work. There are many threats to company growth and it is

good to think that Northern Tea Merchants is in a fit and capable shape to be able to

compete with and overcome these threats.

3. Which local business would you recommend and why?

I use In The Works PR for all my local PR, website, marketing, communications and social

media, and I find both Emma and Anna to be charming, efficient and very effective. I’ve had

dealings with other companies in this field before and find In the Works PR to be by far the

most effective partner in promoting my business.

4. Which development do you think will most benefit the town?

I believe Chesterfield Waterside is the development which will most benefit the town in the

long run as its mixture of housing, retail and amenities will bring people to both visit and live


5. Which national shops and restaurants would you like to see investing here?

I would love to see a medium-sized Booths Supermarket open. They offer artisan quality,

great variation and sensible pricing.

6. Which high profile events are working well in Chesterfield and what kinds of

events would you like to see in the future?

For a town to work commercially, car parks need to be full and people need to be walking

around the town centre with their wallets ready to spend. This is why I like to see the

markets. For example, the Artisan, Christmas and Medieval Markets bring people into the

town centre and get money changing hands.

7. Where in the town do you spend your leisure time?

There are some great bars and restaurants in Chesterfield, some of which have become

Chesterfield institutions. Einstein’s, The Junction, Bottle & Thyme and H&F Vintage

Tearooms are all lovely places to spend some time relaxing.