Les Bell Family Fund

Les Bell Family Fund

The Bells Stores name was a major part of the Teesside commercial scene for nearly four decades with a chain of successful small supermarkets and local stores being the most visible part of the business.

Following his national service, which he served in the RAF, Les did not want to return to work on the family's farm at Marske, so he bought a milk round for the princely sum of £500 - half borrowed from his dad and half from the bank.

Takings in the first week were £56.

However it was a trip to America which sparked the "open all hours" Bells Stores concept in his mind.  It was there Les witnessed this type of business in action and returned home with the firm belief such an idea would take off in the UK; his first shop opened in 1968 in Esk Close, Guisborough.

Since then the rest - as they say - is history with Les Bell going from milkman to millionaire in charge of a chain of 54 outlets with an annual turnover of £50m-plus.

In 2004 Les took the decision to sell his 54 store empire to Sainsbury's who retained the Bells Stores name for a number of years.

Les and Elaine still live in the Guisborough area and are committed, through their partnership with TVCF, to supporting our local community, with a specific emphasis on East Cleveland.

Les is still a keen Boro fan and can often be seen in the Directors Box at the Riverside.