You’d be forgiven for not knowing about the subject of this feature, despite its colossal offering and sizeable premises. Tucked away in the Chinatown area at the top of Vicar Lane, its clean shop front and neat outside cafe belies the huge range of products and services gleaming inside.
With a decidedly Yorkshire approach to setting up shop, Millies have made the conscious decision to choose local suppliers that they know and trust and have a staggering knowledge of where all their stuff comes from. And they sell A LOT of stuff. Baking ingredients? A huge selection. Veggies? Seasonal and reasonable. Meat and cheese? Only the best.
But Millies isn’t just about food. They also have a huge range of body care products (including our fave Burt Bees) and a spa offering gorgeous natural treatments. Is there anything these guys don’t do?! We caught up with the family that makes it all work to find out…
Who are you and how did you get here?
We’re an independent fine food store supplying quality local Yorkshire produce and health supplements in Leeds city centre. We have a cheese deli counter, an award winning takeaway deli kitchen, a floor dedicated to sports supplements, a large range of natural body care products and an extensive range of vitamins and herbal supplements. We support local producers and farmers who supply us with meats, fruit, veg and freshly baked bread. Also hidden away upstairs we have three beauty treatment rooms where our beauticians offer a range of treatments using natural and organic products.
We opened the York Nut Centre in 1982 specialising in nuts and dried fruit when most people had never heard of pistachios and Bombay mix. In 2003 we took over Clapham’s (est. in 1857) in Leeds and re-opened as the Health Food Co. with a focus on health supplements. Then in 2008, built on the success and 30 years experience we gained from running the stores, we opened Millies. The family spend time working between each store.
What do you offer that other places in Leeds don’t?
As an independent company we can react fast and adapt to current trends, latest products and customer requests. If a customer is looking for a particular product and we can source it, we’ll order it and can have it delivered that week. Larger chains can’t move so quickly.
We’re big on supporting local producers. Many of our suppliers have stalls on the farmers markets around Yorkshire but some find it hard to break into the city centre. We provide them with the chance to put their wares in front of people in a store open 7 days a week.
What can customers expect from your business?
We have a huge and diverse range of products. There aren’t many shops in Leeds where you can pick up a rare breed Lincoln Red steak and get a Hollywood wax and spray tan! We think overall we offer good value, good choice and good service.
What’s your bestselling product?
That’s got to be our meal of the day, cooked fresh daily using produce from the store for £3.50.
What’s your favourite product?
Our favourite drink is the mixed fresh fruit juice for £2.19 and the best food is our homemade cake which is £1.50 per slice.
What do you think makes Leeds so awesome?
Leeds has a compact city centre with all the best bits of a larger city. When we’re not working we like to hang out at Calls Landing for drinks or Arts Cafe for some great food.
Finally, describe Millies in 3 words…
Personal. Friendly. Helpful.