The Wellock family’s association with food began in 1946 with Eric Wellock, who had a traditional greengrocers in Silsden, Yorkshire. He was followed by son Richard, who became a potato merchant, supplying local fish and chip shops with potatoes he bought himself, directly from farms. He later opened a stall on Skipton market selling fresh fruit and vegetables.
Richard set up Wellocks in 1961. Later, around 1980, after a local company selling fresh produce to greengrocers was bought out, Richard spotted a gap in the market and employed three of the former salesmen from the old company, invested in some delivery wagons and Wellocks grew once again. James Wellock, Richard’s son, had been working part time on the stall for years, but in 1984, when he was 19, he joined the business. His challenge was to expand their remit by supplying all types of fruit and vegetables to greengrocers and market stalls.
He started buying produce from the markets in Manchester, all the time questioning what he was buying, where it was from and finding new sources. Over time, they made new contacts and started delivering to more businesses. Their success grew, as did the geographical areas they delivered to.
In 1995 they began supplying freshly prepared ingredients to the restaurant, pub and hotel trade. This step proved to be an inspired decision as it opened doors to sourcing and supplying even more types of food, and in 2005 they added dry store products to the menu. The company’s strong family values and their ability to forge lasting relationships is based on trust and respect, with suppliers big and small. Richard Wellock retired in 2002 but remains a big influence within the business, and James continues to lead the hunt for the perfect ingredients.