We have the pleasure of working with some exceptional retailers over the last few years, many of which have become good friends.
It's fair to say that most of them, with the exception of Lund & Lund in Sweden have been established in the last decade and carved out their own interesting niche in what is a very competitive retail environment.
Fortnum & Mason however first opened it's doors in 1707, and since agreeing a listing with them we've come to learn a lot more about this iconic department store. That is a long time to be in business by any industry standards, but to thrive over three centuries of trading is a impressive feat and one worth celebrating.
Without further ado we therefore bring you our list of five interesting facts about a retailer who cite innovation as the key to their success over the years:
1. Up on the roof
You may be surprised to know that up on the rooftop of the famous building live four colonies of bee's that produce exceptional honey, sold in store under the 'Made in Piccadilly' brand. A few strides away salmon is smoked daily and an allotment grows fresh fruit and veg which is served in the restaurant downstairs.
2. The humble (but famous) scotch egg
The Scotch egg was invented at the Piccadilly headquarters in the 18th century for its most affluent customers. It was created as a travellers snack: Piccadilly back then was full of coaching inns, from where many landowners would start the journey to their country estates. Portable snacks were of the essence – so, in the days before sushi boxes, enterprising staff at the shop came up with the idea of the easy-to-hold treat that is is now know as the Scotch egg.
3. It has to be Heinz
Since the middle of the century Fortnum’s had been the leading provider in tinned goods, which made them the obvious first stop for a young entrepreneur lugging five cases of samples from the USA. Recognising a future household staple Fortnum's took them all, introducing the mighty baked bean to Britain for the first time. After allowing sampling in store, the brand took off and the rest as they say is history...
4. Charles Dicken's on the famous hampers
“Look where I will.... I see Fortnum & Mason. All the hampers fly wide open and the green downs burst into a blossom of lobster salad!” (writing about derby day at Epson Races)
5. The clock
1964 saw a new landmark added to the front of the store – the famous Fortnum's clock, with bells from the same foundry as Big Ben. Every fifteen minutes a selection of airs is played on eighteen bells, and once an hour Messrs F&M themselves appear to check that standards are being up kept.
Bennett Winch @ Fortnum & Mason's
Fortnum and Mason now stock a large selection of the Bennett Winch range. Being purveyors of made in England goods and having a keen eye for innovative products they are an ideal partner for us. You can find our British-made luggage / accessories on the third floor, and even stop for a drink in the new 3 & 6 bar afterwards. The Negroni comes highly recommended.
Our full collection can be viewed here