Leekes Retail & Leisure Group
In the late 1890s blacksmith James Henry Leeke started a small ironmongery business housed in the front room of his family terraced home in Court Street, Tonypandy. Very much a family affair, he worked alongside his wife selling to local miners and their families who were moving in increasing numbers to the area as the coal industry started to grow. In the 1940s, the family expanded the business to include selling hardware and also leased a yard from which to sell building materials. The business then moved to premises on the high street in Tonypandy before the family subsequently bought a disused station in the town where the increased floor space allowed DIY, flooring and then kitchen and bathrooms studios to be added.
In the 1970s the first of the Leekes home department stores opened “out of town” near Llantrisant, just a few miles from the original store followed by another in Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire in 1984 and then Melksham, Wiltshire in 1992. In November 2009, Leekes acquired the Midlands-based ‘Cole’s Home Furnishers Group’ including its flagship store in Bilston, Wolverhampton. In 2016 they acquired Bristol’s largest independent furniture store, another family business, Park Furnishers which continues to operate under its original name. The most recent announcement was of the business’ expansion into Cardiff where it has taken a lease on a store on Newport Road from where it will retail sofas, dining, beds and kitchens.
Each of the home department stores sell ‘everything for the home’ from the bricks and blocks to build a house from the foundations up through to the products for every room from kitchens to bathrooms, sofas to beds and all the finishing touches.
Over 60,000 people that pass through the doors of a Leekes store each week - a far cry from the days of serving customers in the front room of a terraced house in South Wales!
The Leisure Business
In 1993 Leekes diversified into the hospitality market when it bought a 650-acre site with a small golf course in Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan. Since then a landmark four-star hotel with spa, health and racquets club, 700 seat conference facility, and two 18- hole championship golf courses have been built.
The Vale Resort has a great link with sport with a number of the trophy-winning national and club football and rugby teams using the hotel with its superb training facilities, including football and rugby pitches on the grounds and the Welsh Rugby Union’s indoor training facility, its centre of excellence. Both the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Rugby Union use the Resort as their base for training camps.
The hospitality business now includes the grade 1 listed Hensol Castle, a beautiful seventeenth-century stately home that sits in the countryside alongside the Vale Resort. The Castle has been transformed into a wedding and events venue and has opened some very individual, luxurious bedrooms. Whilst adjacent to the Castle, buildings on the grounds have been converted into private residential apartments called Hensol Castle Park.
In 2018 the business diversified further converting the cellars of the Castle to a distillery, making award-winning gin, plus a contract bottling facility. In 2021 we opened a top-class visitor attraction and gin school.
Official company information
Company Name: Leekes Limited
Registered Head Office
Mwyndy Business Park
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Registered Company Number in England and Wales: 00563751
VAT number: 135044206