Tea dealer Edwin Henry Booth, then aged 19 years, opened
The China House in Blackpool 160 years ago, having borrowed
£80 in goods from the Preston grocer who had taught him his trade.
Just three months later he repaid the debt and made a profit of £50.
As he extended his stock he became even more successful, always
searching for the best goods he could find… a search that took him
to France in 1855 and to the discovery of Count Simon’s French
coffee a product that was sold in our stores until recently.
Under his eldest son John’s leadership the stores were enlarged and
cafés were added in 1902. Not surprisingly the developing café society
helped this activity to become more fashionable, especially in
the seaside resorts.
John Booth recognised the enthusiasm of staff by offering all the assistants a
bonus on company profits and in 1920 the staff were invited to become shareholders in this private company.
Changes in the licensing laws allowed him to move into the wines and spirits trade in 1863, and new branches of EH Booth & Company were opened in Lytham in 1879 and Blackburn in 1884.
Edwin Booth's philosophy was simple
Sell the best goods available, in attractive stores, staffed with first class assistants.
A philosophy which remains to this day