A HEALTHY eating business which launched its first restaurant in York has expanded into Leeds ahead of opening in Newcastle.

Filmore and Union, which is the 2013 Press Business Awards’ Retailer Of The Year, was created in 2012 by Adele Ashley, who previously owned health and wellness clinics, and her Michelin-trained chef nephew Will Pugh.

They opened their first restaurant in Low Petergate in February 2012, before opening a Health To Go shop at York Railway Station, a small delicatessen in Harrogate and restaurant in Wetherby.

Now, following financial backing from Natwest, the business has expanded into Leeds with a recently opened restaurant in the Victoria Quarter, next to Harvey Nichols, and another restaurant at Moortown Corner. Employing an additional 100 people as a result of the two new restaurants, Ms Ashley expects the business’s turnover to increase to £3.5 million in 2014, having just won a tender to set up at Newcastle train station.

Having self-funded the business until recently, Ms Ashley knew that to be able to expand the Filmore and Union brand to Leeds she would need a strong banking relationship to support her business, and so moved to NatWest.

She said: “The bank I was with before was not supportive of me or the business and a friend of mine introduced me to NatWest; they’ve been amazing from day one.”

NatWest worked with Ms Ashley to provide the business with a £175,000 loan provided as part of the bank’s participation in the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme.

The funds enabled Filmore and Union to refurbish the two Leeds premises, purchase machinery and pay for architectural fees.

Ms Ashley said: “The additional capital meant that I was able to open a larger site in central Leeds as well as a smaller site on the outskirts of the city in Moortown.”

The Moortown restaurant opened in January while the central restaurant opened in November.

Tom Smith, relationship manager at NatWest, said: “I am so pleased to have been able to support Adele and Will in this fantastic new venture.

“The business is growing in line with demand and I expect nothing but success for the future for them.”