Shoe repair specialist set for growth with Finance Yorkshire investment

Left to right, Dean Westmoreland, Yorkshire Sole; Anthony Cope and Alex McWhirter, Finance Yorkshire.

Shipley-based Yorkshire Sole is expanding into new premises with investment from Finance Yorkshire.

The business specialises in the repair and restoration of footwear. Owner Dean Westmoreland – who appears on the BBC’s The Repair Shop – is opening a second shop which will see him start to make his own bespoke shoes.

A £25,000 investment from Finance Yorkshire’s micro loan fund is enabling Dean to fit out his new space at Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, and equip it with stitching, pressing and finishing equipment used in the repair of shoes and boots.

Dean, 38, launched his business in 2017 after spending 15 years working in the cobbler trade. He plans to keep his Shipley store open to serve the local community while his new 500 sq ft unit will be known as Yorkshire Sole Shoemakers and Restorers.

Dean said: “Cobbling is the original recycling and it’s really important that the trade is protected. It is a craft and I’m still learning all the time.

“I needed more space to do repairs and move into making shoes under my own name. The investment from Finance Yorkshire is huge – it’s the first time I’ve had new machinery. It has changed my life and the life of the business and where I can positively take it.”

Yorkshire Sole is an authorised repairer for the brand Redwing. Dean plans to sell its shoes and those of the Loake brand at Sunny Bank Mills. “I want it to be a destination which promotes the shoemaking and repair trade and where people can experience the craft of cobbling,” said Dean.

Alex McWhirter, chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “Dean is passionate about his craft and its heritage. He has already demonstrated his expertise to a wide audience, and he now has the opportunity to showcase the skills involved at his new premises.

“Finance Yorkshire’s financial investments support companies across Yorkshire and the Humber to grow and realise their ambitions. We are pleased to support Dean and his business as he expands and continues to promote the art of cobbling.”

Finance Yorkshire’s micro loan fund is part of its wider regional business fund which is expected to provide more than £50m to SMEs over the next five years. Investment is also available from its business loan, growth and seedcorn funds.