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News article

A change at the top for York's best performing businesses  

Published: 22 April 2021

A street of shops with York Minster in the background

Family shoe firm Pavers has taken the number one spot for the first time in the annual York Top 100 which showcases the city's biggest business successes. York St John University's Business School calculate the list using data from turnover, profit, growth, and staff numbers.  


Dr Bob Gammie, Dean of York Business School, said: "The diversity within the list is frankly extraordinary and is a testament to the popularity of the city as a place from which to run local, national, and internationally successful businesses. The York Top 100 provides a valuable insight into the economic infrastructure of the area. We hope that the list will stimulate interest and debate and become a much-anticipated feature of business life in York for many years to come.  


"It has been a difficult year economically and financially and York has suffered along with the rest of the world. However, it does seem that the city is primed and ready to come out of the latest lockdown and to commence business activity with vigour and energy." 


Taking the number one spot for the first time is Pavers Shoes, a firm which has grown significantly since it was founded in York fifty years ago, now employing 1,650 people. The company is notable for its charity work via The Paver Foundation, established in 2018 with the mission of ‘making a difference with every pair'. This year, the Foundation has donated fifty thousand pounds to mental health causes. 


Stuart and Jason Paver, Joint Managing Directors of Pavers Shoes said: "“We were absolutely delighted with this award and it is something everyone in the business can rightly be very proud of. This is especially the case in such tough retail conditions. Enormous thanks go to all of our colleagues for the hard work that went into sustaining the business and ensuring we were well positioned to win.  Winning this year is particularly poignant for us as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary year in 2021.”


Dr Rebecca Biggins, Associate Dean of York Business School, said: “It has been excellent to speak to these organisations and learn about how they have pivoted to the new business landscape that emerged in 2020. The resilience and dedication of industry in York sets an excellent example to our students and shows them what can be done even in times of uncertainty.  


"I am thrilled to see Pavers take the number 1 spot after working their way up the list in the past four years. As a family run business that has started their own charitable foundation to support communities and has achieved the Carbon Neutral International Standard with their focus on sustainable business practices, they share many of the values of York Business School around making a positive impact and considering the actions of your business over and above the bottom line." 


Shepherd Group climbed to second place with an annual turnover of more than £330 million, followed in third by Total Systems Services (TSYS). LNER, Great Rail Journeys, ADVA, Persimmon, SportsShoes, Authentix, and Continuum Attractions round out the top ten. VetPartners, which has risen from 29th place in 2019 to 27, has been named the 'one to watch'.  


The index, produced in partnership with York Press and Make it York, is compiled by York Business School academics Doug Meikle and Panos Dimitriadis using companies’ published data. This year publication has moved from its usual November slot after three-month delay in firms publishing their accounts due to the pandemic.  


The Top 100 Business Report, sponsored by Garbutt and Elliott, is published online here. 

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