Desperate Hackney crisp makers need donations to survive after Tottenham warehouse blaze destroys £20k of stock

PUBLISHED: 16:33 25 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:42 25 September 2017

Firefighters battle a warehouse blaze on White Hart Lane in Tottenham, London.

Firefighters battle a warehouse blaze on White Hart Lane in Tottenham, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

A start-up crisp company founded by three friends from Hackney is in danger of closing after all of its stock and equipment went up in flames.

Three foodie friends (L-R) Dominic Donnelly, Cara Leighton, and Chris Wilkowski created Leighton Brown after meeting at The White Hart in Stoke Newington. Three foodie friends (L-R) Dominic Donnelly, Cara Leighton, and Chris Wilkowski created Leighton Brown after meeting at The White Hart in Stoke Newington.

Dominic Donnelly, Cara Leighton and Chris Wilkowski are in desperate need of donations to help Leighton Brown survive after a devastating warehouse fire in White Hart Lane, Tottenham, on Monday last week.

They trio, who met while working in the White Hart in Stoke Newington, set up the business in 2012 with their original brand of parsnip and Manuka honey crisps.

They were all working other jobs at the time and built the brand with £1,000 each of savings, but their vegetable crisps proved a hit and the business took off through word of mouth.

To make matters worse, they found out they had lost £20,000 of stuff in the blaze while watching the news.

Dominic told the Gazette they would never normally keep that amount of stock inside the building, but a delivery was missed days before.

“We had seen it on the news on Monday but the penny didn’t drop, there’s a lot of units in the area. But the next morning at about 6.30am I recognised the gates on the news.

“It was just devastating. There’s a whole myriad of emotions, you know? The first day you adopt gallows humour so people think you’re taking it lightly. But then the next day it hits you and you realise everything that you have lost.”

The cause of the blaze, which could be seen across north London, is being investigated by police and fire chiefs but Leighton Brown was only insured for £2,000 worth of stock.

Big orders for Selfridges, Holland and Barrett, Fortnum and Mason and other high-profile clients can now not be met, and the guys have launched a Go Fund Me page in a bid to raise £10,000 to start over.

“We’re a small company and this has frozen cash flow,” Dominic continued. “We had no choice but to set up this page. We’re not prepared to take it lying down, we’ve come too far.”

Almost £2,000 in donations has already poured in since the page launched on Tuesday. To donate, click here.


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