There’s never been a more important time to support local businesses. In this feature we meet owner of The Chilli Shop, Frank, to discuss his lockdown experience and hopes for the future…
FRANK JAY, OWNER: THE CHILLI SHOP
Please tell us about The Chilli Shop…
We are the 1st and only REAL chilli shop in Leeds! The Chilli Shop celebrates all things ‘hot’ and sells everything from hot sauces to jams, chilli plants to humorous gifts (including gummy bears with a kick!).
How long have you been with the business?
From day 1… that’s 16 years in total!
Tell us what you were up to during lockdown
I took lockdown as a time to realign my store and give it a fresh new look!
Last week saw me install even more shelves for more hot products, meaning Leeds will be home to the biggest collection of sauces featured on the brilliant cult YouTube show ‘Hot Ones’ (49 in total!)
What did you miss most during lockdown?
The people of Leeds… we have a great following and not been able to catch up with regulars was a challenge.
I also missed not welcoming new customers who are amazed when they find our homage to chilli’s in the middle of Leeds (although I was lucky to see more people ordering through my FACEBOOK PAGE which I will continue to do along with offering delivery services).
Now you are trading again – what is your current challenge?
I am aware there is still some uncertainty around people wanting to shop in person hence why I have taken great lengths to make my store as welcoming and safe as possible.
What are you most excited about now lockdown has been relaxed?
I had a dream of collecting as many featured sauces as possible from the brilliant cult YouTube show ‘Hot Ones’ and sell them to my lovely customers so they could collect & do the show at home…
Last week saw another 16 (!!) new to Europe iconic sauces arrive in my Merrion Centre shop and I can’t wait to introduce customers to these products!
If there was one message you wanted to convey to customers at the moment what would it be?
PLEASE keep the smaller independent shops alive by shopping with us!
Just by buying one thing, however small, could be the difference of survival. Spread the word and keep us small indies alive. The high street still needs our unique stores!
The Chilli Shop is open daily and can be found on Merrion Street.
To enquire or order by phone call Frank on 07721 633 233.
To read our next ‘Meet the Team’ CLICK HERE
From boot repairs to barbers, food to photography… the Merrion Centre is home to whole host of unique, independent operators.
To see the full list CLICK HERE and please support these important local businesses.