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News article

Online retailer Gear4Music hits the right note as it’s named York’s top performing business 

Published: 25 May 2023

  •   Featured
Photo by David Harrison of Chris Scott, Gear for Music and Professor Rob Mortimer, YSJ

Chris Scott, CFO Gear4Music receives his award from Professor Rob Mortimer

20 years after it was first launched, Gear4Music has earned the accolade of York’s top performing business in the annual Top 100 index. With a track record of growth and continued international expansion, the firm is now the largest UK based online retailer of musical instruments and music equipment. 

The list of best performing businesses is compiled by academics at York Business School using a painstaking process of research, data gathering and number crunching. The city’s businesses are ranked according to a wide range of metrics, including number of employees, turnover, profit and shareholder funds. This year, for the first time, the criteria also means that the companies have to have been headquartered in York for at least 3 years. 

This year’s results were unveiled this morning at a special event at Temple Hall on campus at York St John University. The Top 100 awards ceremony was hosted in partnership with The Press & LOCALiQ and City of York Council and in association with City Cruises.

Guests were welcomed by Professor Rob Mortimer, Pro Vice Chancellor: Research and International at York St John University who introduced the event’s guest speaker. Former England rugby international Tony Underwood, who sits on the Dean’s Advisory Board at York St John University, shared anecdotes and insights into leadership in front of an invited audience of York’s most successful businesses. 

The top 5 for 2023 is rounded out by building firms Persimmon and Shepherd Group, family restaurant firm JRA and payment solution company Total System Services Processing. 

Other awards on the day included: 

  • Highest Climber: York Racecourse 
  • One to Watch: Scooby Bidco Ltd - VetPartners  
  • Highest new entrant: Karian Communications Group  

Dr Rebecca Biggins, Associate Dean of York Business School said: “We have a very diverse economic landscape in York with over 12 thousand established businesses from app developers to potato farmers. There are large number of startups coming from the city’s two universities too, with entrepreneurial students starting their own companies and helping to develop existing businesses as well.    

“We are thrilled that the Top 100 list continues to provide a useful source of information to help us to reflect on and respond to the business activity in the city, especially during such challenging times.   

“Academia can make an immense contribution to navigating this, as custodians of future generations of leaders who need to be equipped with the right skills and mindset. Business schools are uniquely placed to help us build back better, and a good start would be to put public good at the heart of student learning and development.” 

Chris Scott, Chief Financial Officer of Gear4Music said: “We’re now the biggest UK retailer of musical instruments and as an online retailer though Covid, when some of the data for this award was gathered, we were fortunate to be able to keep our distribution centres open thanks to the hard efforts of our teams.

"Despite recent challenges, we’re really looking forward to more opportunities in the future."  

Rob Hopkins, Director of Acquisitions at VetPartners said: “We’re incredibly proud to win this award. It recognises all the hard work of our teams in practices and central support, and means a lot to everyone involved.” 

The annual Top 100 report is produced by York Business School in partnership with The Press and Make it York. The definitive and comprehensive list of York's most significant employers will be available as a supplement in The Press, York and to access online via the York Press website 

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