HURLEY’S HAS BEEN A FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS SINCE 1955...
We were THE Original sports shop in Manchester City Centre. Now based in two key locations at Bolton and Wigan, Hurley’s are recognised as one of the North West’s leading independent branded fashion retailers for Men, Women and Kids.
We aim to showcase stylish, leading brands including Vivienne Westwood, UGG Slippers, Hunter Wellies/Boots, Ted Baker and Barbour amongst many more, which have been carefully selected by our buyers. Online our website experience is as exceptional as our store, offering accessible designer fashion for all ages.
Our hard work and commitment to our customers was rewarded when in 2010 we won the Draper’s Award for ‘Young Fashion Retailer of the Year’.
Our hard work and commitment to our customers was rewarded when in 2010 we won the Draper’s Award for ‘Young Fashion Retailer of the Year’.
We still maintain the same family values the store was founded on. Our unique 'Hurley Loyalty Scheme' has over 30,000 members and stands testament to our long and valued customer relations.
It all began in Salford, when Mr Ron Hurley set up the company that we now know as Hurley’s. Ron was born in 1924 and lived with his parents; William and Louise, above their Herbalist shop on Eccles New Road, Salford. As a young man; Ron served in the Navy, then returned after the war and converted the back of his parents’ shop into a Milk Bar. This spot quickly became the place to be, as it was hugely popular with locals. He was a very keen tennis and table tennis player, and played at Claremont tennis club with his then girlfriend Eileen Gent. They married in 1948 on a Wednesday; as it was half day closing. When they closed the shop at midday, they crossed the road to get married at what is now the landmark church steeple on the M602 roundabout. With times being hard, they lived above the Milk Bar until 1955 when their entrepreneurial spirit and love of sport led them to purchase the launderette four doors down from the Milk bar and turn it into a sports shop.
22 ECCLES NEW ROAD, SALFORD
In 1955 they began trading as Hurley’s Sports & Camping in Salford; one of the first stores of its kind in the area at that time. They moved to live above this shop, where they had their own living space at last. They were the first to stock tracksuits despite the fact that at the time, no one thought this design would ever pay off, but it did and as a result of this the store was very popular! It stocked equipment and clothing for a variety of sports; including tennis, table tennis, darts, football, cricket, rugby, as well as tents and other camping equipment.
MAKING A HOUSE A HOME
Due to the success of their business venture, Ron and Eileen were able to purchase their first home in Swinton. Their homes have always served as the head office for Hurley’s, with Eileen in charge of the accounts for the business; a role she was responsible for all her life.
MOSLEY STREET SPORTS STORE
In 1961, Ron and Eileen opened a sports store on Mosley street, Central Manchester. The shop was located in the basement below the Halifax Building. A few years down the line, the lift broke and smashed through to the store, setting it alight and destroying it entirely. As a result, the store was lost and never re-opened. Luckily, the business was able to bounce back from this disaster due to its strong name recognition and long-standing relationships with high-end sporting brands. Ron and Eileen decided to seek new premises in other prime locations in Manchester and beyond.
PURE GOLF STORES: FOUNTAIN STREET, MANCHESTER AND ALBION STREET, LEEDS
The next step for the business was to establish an increased presence in the North. In 1963 Ron opened the first golf store in the country that was not based on a golf course, in Leeds town centre. Mr Hurley soon after opened another golf store in Manchester, on Fountain Street in the city centre. These stores were devoted to golf equipment and apparel, stocking high-end sporting brands such as Fila, Ellesse, and Tacchini. The Hurley’s brand has a rich history with this sport, with Ron and Eileen, as well as their children; Kim and Mark being avid golfers throughout their years.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The golf store was moved from Fountain Street, to the even more central location of 83 Piccadilly. The store began with a focus on golf and high-end sporting equipment and apparel, but it was here that the beginning of their fashion business was born. Ron and Eileen were also selling designer clothing in this store and customers travelled from near and far to view and purchase these branded items. After much effort, they acquired a contract with Lacoste, and this resulted in a strong relationship between Hurley’s and the well-known label. It was at the 83 Piccadilly location that the first Lacoste shop-within-a-shop was created. To this day, Hurley’s still stocks Lacoste products in-store and online; the result of a business relationship that has lasted decades.
SPORTS & GUNS STORE AT 93 PICCADILLY
In the 1970’s Ron bought what was previously known as Rofe’s Gun Store at 93 Piccadilly and merged some of their stock with his sportswear and equipment; selling everything from football boots, to diving gear, and shotguns for hunting. This store became quite famous for selling a huge range of International Football shirts. Unfortunately, the business was hit hard when the window lighting set on fire, resulting in a total loss of stock. They were forced to close for some time and rebuild the business. During this refurbishment, the basement was converted into the company’s warehouse which served all of their stores. This was until the overall business grew to 14 stores and was too big for the space, so the warehouse and Head Office were moved to Heywood Distribution park in 2007, which is still in use as the Hurley’s base of operations today.
SPORTS AND SCHOOL UNIFORM STORE IN ECCLES
Ron further expanded the Hurley’s empire by purchasing twin stores on Church Street. Here, he sold school uniforms, alongside the sports equipment and high-end clothing that had become synonymous with his brand. Through this venture, the family was able to gain valuable experience in selling children’s wear, which would later come in handy as the business expanded its fashion ranges to include branded children’s clothing.
THE 1980'S - 1990'S...
The End of an Era
Sadly, founder Ron Hurley passed away in 1980, leaving wife Eileen Hurley, son Mark and daughter Kim to run the company. Mark and Kim already had active roles within the business, and had inherited their parents entrepreneurial spirit. They were determined to maintain the family legacy by continuing the success of the Hurley’s brand. The whole family rose to this challenge successfully by making the necessary changes to keep up with the times, further cementing the Hurley’s brand as a highly popular and well-respected retailer.
38 HANDKINSON WAY, SALFORD
38 HANDKINSON WAY, SALFORD
With the younger generation of the Hurley’s family now in a position to make more business decisions, Mark decided to open his own branch of Hurley’s on Salford Precinct. This store sold high-quality sportswear and equipment and again was a great success. This helped to further establish the Hurley’s brand throughout the North West, with stores now situated in Central Manchester, Salford, Eccles, Leeds, and beyond. The family had ideas for increased expansion; with plans for additional stores throughout the North of England.
OPENING STORES IN MIDDLEBROOK LEISURE PARK, BOLTON
The Bolton area was identified as a prime location for another Hurley’s store, so they opened two units in Middlebrook Leisure Park, Horwich, Bolton. The larger unit was initially used for menswear, stocking designer brands such as Lacoste, Paul & Shark, and Henri Lloyd. The smaller unit was devoted to Rockport and Timberland footwear, which was highly popular at the time. Some of the name-brands that were stocked also started to create womenswear lines and these were introduced to Hurley’s stores too. As the popularity of Rockport and Timberland shoes began to wane, the best-selling styles were transferred to the menswear store, and the smaller store was then converted into a women’s and kid’s wear boutique. As the internet café next door was closing, the family took on that property; uniting men’s and womenswear into one store, and keeping the smaller store for children’s wear. This layout has proved incredibly successful for Hurley’s and the Bolton store remains in this way to this day.
As a thank-you to all Hurley’s customers, Mark and Kim developed the Hurley’s Loyalty Scheme. This was a unique programme that offers customers 5% of all purchases back on to the loyalty card/account to spend whenever they like. The loyalty scheme also includes regular points promotions such as double (10%), triple (15%), and even quadruple (20%) points, as well as early sales access and special offers for loyalty customers only – further increasing the benefits of shopping with Hurley’s. This scheme is still going strong today; it is loved by its members as a highly rewarding programme. The loyalty database has over 75,000 members to date, with the number increasing every day.
50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
The whole Hurley’s team celebrated their 50th year of successful trading on the 10th November 2005, at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Manchester. This special occasion was attended by 180 guests including suppliers, business associates, and key management. The party featured a champagne reception, gourmet dinner, and large screen visuals documenting the 50 years of Hurley’s History. The event was an opportunity to reflect on the successes of the business and how far the Hurley family had come. There was also a charity appeal that raised £2000 for cancer charities, as well as singing, dancing, and the usual festivities. Kim, Mark and Eileen received the Gold Disk commemorating 50 years in business; a milestone event that is still reflected on positively today.
TRANSITION TO FASHION ONLY
In 2006, Eileen sadly passed away, leaving the full responsibility of the Hurley’s brand with her two children; Kim and Mark; now experienced business people in their own right. With business booming at 83 Piccadilly, they continued to expand on relationships with well-established designer labels. Alongside their profitable Lacoste partnership, they built a similar bond with high-end boating brand Paul & Shark; another label that Hurley’s still stocks today. Fortunately, they were able to take over the hairdressing salon next to 83 Piccadilly, and convert it into the first Paul & Shark store outside of London; a huge achievement for the business. With their reputation as a luxury clothing retailer continuing to expand, they began to shift the focus away from sports equipment and onto clothing and fashion only. This proved to be a very wise decision, yielding lucrative results for the Hurley’s brand.
The business further expanded to the Trafford Centre, the Hurley’s store was the smallest unit available, but they quickly progressed to a much larger unit. The Trafford centre store sold the Lacoste brand only, becoming a high-end boutique for Lacoste fans in the North West and beyond. It was the first Lacoste boutique outside of London, another huge milestone for the Hurley’s business.
LEEDS AND MANCHESTER
The next store was based in Victoria Arcade in Leeds, this was also a Lacoste boutique to begin with. Another opportunity arose for a Manchester City Centre store, which led to the opening of another Lacoste boutique on what was then known as “The Shambles,” aka New Cathedral Street. At this point in Hurley’s history, the business had very strong brand recognition, with high-end brands contacting the family, hoping for the opportunity to be sold in the many stores that made up the Hurley’s empire. The family developed a strong relationship with the Henri Lloyd brand, and opened a store selling Henri Lloyd only, right next to the Lacoste Boutique in Manchester. Both of these stores did great business and further strengthened the company’s position as a high-end retailer.
WIGAN GRAND ARCADE AND BEYOND
The business was then expanded further into the North West by opening a store in Wigan. Situated in the Grand Arcade, this store had a similar set up to the popular Bolton store; selling designer men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and footwear in departments. The next generation of the Hurley’s family were eager to get involved with the business, with Mark’s daughters Jess and Tara both working at this store. Both girls were highly ambitious and worked their way up to management overtime, with Jess now working as the Merchandiser for the business at head office and Tara now managing the Wigan store. As the years went by, the Wigan store was somewhat downsized to cater to the high-end boutique feel that better suited the Wigan customer, increasing profits for the Hurley’s business. Plans were made to create a similar store in Liverpool and one in Bury. These plans were successful and soon after the Hurley empire got bigger and opened a store in the new Bury 'The Rock' complex.
Things had been going extremely well for the business, and the family were looking to the future; expanding throughout the North West and investing in more retail opportunities. It was at this point that the financial crisis happened, and they almost lost everything. The business had banked with the Royal Bank of Scotland for over 50 years, creating a strong relationship that was cemented further when RBS presented them with a Silver Friendship cup at the Hurley’s 50th Celebration party. The family put forward a business proposition to the bank to fund the new store in Liverpool City Centre. The loan was agreed and so the business began development. It was right in the middle of this when the banking financial crash happened in 2008. RBS then refused to provide the money they had promised, and this last-minute decision on their part was catastrophic for the entire Hurley’s team. RBS’s unfair refusal destroyed the business that the whole family had spent their lives building up, they almost lost everything; including a number of stores throughout the North West. While the family could not rely on the banks; they could rely on their loved ones, as family and friends all chipped in to save the business. Due to this team effort, the family were able to save and rebuild the business slowly but surely; focusing on their Wigan and Bolton stores, which still stand to this day.
THE 2010'S AND BEYOND...
60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
Despite the hardships they have faced over the years, the Hurley family has always been able to recover the business and come back even stronger. Establishing and maintaining a brand can be very unpredictable at times, but they have been able to weather this storm to great success. Fires and financial crashes couldn’t stop them, and in 2015 they got together again to celebrate how far they had come. A Jazz-themed loyalty event was held at the Middlebrook store, Bolton, with champagne, cake, goody bags and gifts galore; including a £1000 Gift card for one lucky customer!
Over the course of their 60+ years of trading, Hurley’s has been awarded a number of accolades to be proud of. The business has been honoured by Drapers several times; winning The Young Fashion Retailer of the Year award in 2010 and being finalists for The Lifestyle Independent of the Year, and The Best Independent Multi-channel Operator in 2014. The company has also been awarded the Pure London Best of British Independent Retailer Award for Best Independent Retailer in 2015. The family received these honours with pride, as it was nice to see that their hard work and recovery following the recession was noticed. Another thing that makes the Hurley’s team proud is their commitment to charitable causes. The business and the stores often take part in raising money for several charities through fund raising activities for The Christie, Down Syndrome Association, Children In Need and many more; never missing the opportunity to dress up and raise money when they can.
FUTURE OF HURLEY’S
Despite their decades of retail experience, the business has never been afraid to try new things and pursue new markets. The Hurley’s family recognised the growing popularity of fashion e-commerce, and began developing an online business alongside their successful bricks-and-mortar stores. All of the family have added a helping hand in some capacity over the years; from running stores, to doing the deliveries. As the brand develops, Hurley’s has been increasing focus on online sales, with a full studio department, digital marketing, and regular online promotions. The Hurley’s team understands the importance of Social Media, and have been strengthening the brand’s voice on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as a way to communicate with customers on a deeper level. Hurley’s has come a long way from a small sports store on Eccles Road, and everyone here is excited to see what the future will hold.
*All photos are originals and Merepress LTD trading as Hurley owns the rights to them.