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Founder of The Alan Nuttall Partnership passes away aged 80

Our Partnership has announced the sad loss of its visionary Founder and former Chairman, Alan David Nuttall, 80, who wholeheartedly served the business for 56 years before taking a less active role in 2022.

Alan Nuttall | 1942 – 2022
Alan Nuttall | 1942 – 2022

A pioneer of retail environments, Alan passed away on 11th September 2022 following a short illness. Much loved and respected, both his legacy and passion for the business continue to live on through The Alan Nuttall Partnership – an employee-owned company.

Technical Director, Mick Steele who worked with Alan for 34 years, said: “Our Partners held Alan in very great regard. “Caring”, “generous”, “optimistic” and “inspirational” are just some of the ways our team have remembered him in recent days. Many of us worked with Alan for decades and regarded him as a good friend.

“Although he’s not here, he is in the DNA of the business and will remain in the hearts of many of our Partners. The business culture he crafted for us is our greatest strength and a fundamental source of our success.”

A proud Yorkshireman from a working-class background, Alan will be remembered as a dedicated entrepreneur with a nurturing presence, both as a friend and mentor. He enjoyed nothing more than sharing his enthusiasm for the business and seeing Partners develop personally and professionally.

Alan Nuttall accepting an award for the revolutionary Flexeserve Zone heated display for hot food-to-go
Alan accepts an award for the revolutionary Flexeserve Zone

Born on 3rd July 1942, he recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and assumed the position of the Partnership’s Founder. By standing down as Chairman, he prepared the business to continue a journey built on the solid foundation he had established over decades. The Alan Nuttall Partnership and its two brands are now fortunate to be able to continue in a position of great strength, with a rich heritage for which they have Alan to thank.

Alan began transitioning his business to employee ownership in 2015, at a time when the concept was still in its infancy. This structure is wholly dedicated to ensuring the long-term future of the company by empowering its Partners.

Entrusting his legacy to his Partners is yet more proof of his progressive approach. He truly believed employee ownership made the business stronger than ever and the best possible foundation for continued growth.

An entrepreneur by every measure

A pioneer within the industry, Alan Nuttall embodied true entrepreneurial spirit. His story of small beginnings started in 1966 when he launched – with just £137 – Alan Nuttall Ltd specialising in greengrocery shopfitting.

Growing his business over the next 56 years, today The Alan Nuttall Partnership is a successful, multi-award-winning company. It comprises two distinct brands – Nuttall, a retail interior and display specialist and Flexeserve, the world leader in food-to-go hot-holding.

One step ahead

A keen innovator, the self-service fruit shops he saw in the U.S. inspired him to develop the UK’s first ever self-service system for fruiterers in 1975. A year later, this led him to create Fruity Fruits, which went on to be the largest independent fresh produce wholesale and retail business in the UK when it was sold to Birmingham Co-op in 1989 – with 67 stores employing over 650 staff.

A branch of Fruity Fruits, well ahead of its time, created by this retail pioneer
A branch of Fruity Fruits, well ahead of its time

This innovative retail model was adopted by many major supermarkets such as Asda, Dunnes Stores and Morrisons, and is still used today – nearly 50 years later. This forward-thinking approach, sparked by his remarkable vision, was a trademark of Alan’s career, and his positivity drove him to start up and acquire multiple successful businesses, such as Project Solutions, Premier Signs and Refrigeration.

Two brands. One ‘Thank you’.

The Board of Directors of The Alan Nuttall Partnership are all immensely saddened by Alan’s passing and their thoughts are very much with his family and close friends.

The Board said: “His presence within the Partnership was enormous and undeniable. This will only continue – a testament to his personal approach, passion for the job and his influence on our success. We shall remember him as a visionary, whose commitment to both his business and his family were second to none.

“A business like ours only comes about with a leader that has an infectious vision, that innovates and finds others with big ideas of their own. In this way, there is so much of Alan in the Partnership, and we will celebrate and continue his great qualities.”

A beautiful legacy

Alan and Jacqueline Nuttall opening a new facility to promote Partner wellness
Alan and Jacqueline Nuttall opening a new facility to promote Partner wellness

Alan leaves behind his beloved wife of nearly 58 years, Jacqueline, as well as two daughters, a grandson and great grandson. He also, of course, leaves behind his professional legacy, The Alan Nuttall Partnership – a prospering, globally-operating business employing in excess of 200 Partners across two locations.

Jamie Joyce, CEO of Flexeserve, said: “A great man and a true gentleman, Alan was an inspirational mentor. He had a way of nurturing people to reach their potential and I experienced this first-hand. I’ve known him for my entire career and, without him, I would not be where I am today. I’m forever grateful and will miss him tremendously.”

Among his many achievements, Alan celebrated two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, awarded twice in the Innovation category – first in 2005 and again in 2022. He also met Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family at the opening event for one of his landmark shopfitting projects for the prestigious Fortnum & Mason.

Alan Nuttall being presented with the Queen's Award in 2005 for their innovative hot-holding technology
Alan Nuttall being presented with the Queen’s Award in 2005 by the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Baroness Gretton | Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Consort and the Princess of Wales | Fortnum & Mason

Matt Hornblower, CEO of Nuttall, said: “It is more important than ever to acknowledge Alan’s commitment to creating a Partnership that recognises the team of talented and dedicated individuals who can continue to drive it forward. The steps we have taken together with him in recent years towards becoming employee-owned have ensured that, long-term, the business is in safe hands – those of its passionate Partners.”

Words of condolence for Alan’s family and friends are welcome and deeply appreciated. To submit your message, click here.

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