SHOES and booze: for two very unrelated products there are considerable overlaps with two Northamptonshire businesses, NPS Shoes and Tilley's Wines.
NPS Shoes has been crafting English-made footwear since 1881 in the village of Wollaston, near Wellingborough. In spitting distance resides Tilley's Wines, a global importer showcasing premium wines from boutique wineries around the world.
Apart from their proximity, the commonalities run further. They are both independent family business run by the Tilley family. NPS Shoes was founded in 1881 as a cooperative, which Ivor Tilley saved from housing developers in 2005. In 1985, Ivor established Tilley's Wines turning his passion into a profession.
Ivor now oversees both the wine business, led by his daughter, Annabelle, and the shoe business, led by his son-in-law, Christian. As a family they've always got something good on their feet and something decent in the fridge!
Of both businesses, the guiding principles are quality, provenance and attention to detail and, where possible, the wine and shoe components are sourced from other small, independent family-owned businesses, be they in Italy, Australia or around the world. Hand-made quality are the watch words, be they wines or shoes.
The customers of both businesses also have shared interests. Tilley's Wines supply local restaurants in Northamptonshire and have often helped supply members of staff with shoes and boots as part of their uniform.
Tilley's Wines offer bespoke wine tastings and gift services and on request, Annabelle and Christian have combined wine tastings with shoe factory tours (NPS host monthly factory tours on a complimentary basis - see website for details).
Tilley's Wines are also the main importer for the independent wine shop, The Wine Connection, in Derngate, Northampton.
NPS Shoes are currently refitting the basement tasting gallery to create NPS's second shoe shop in addition to their factory shop in Wollaston. The tastings will certainly continue but the backdrop will be brogues, Chelsea boots and Oxfords!
Tilley's Wines would like to offer Business Times readers 15 per cent discount with the code ShoesandBooze until the end of December. For more information see the website at www.tilleys-wines.com or www.nps-shoes.com