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Tony Passmore, Managing Director, Passmore Group
QHow long have you lived in this fine county?
AAll my life - more than half a century.
QIn your opinion, what is the best thing about doing business in Yorkshire?
AWhat you see is what you get! Businesses and customers are to the point, because the county is home to very honest and straightforward people.
QHow would you describe the Yorkshire business climate at present?
ABouyant, definitely. The regional economy is really starting to put the recession behind it, and businesses are experiencing growth. This does bring its challenges of course. I've heard a number of organisations talk about how tough it is to recruit high quality staff for example; many suppliers now have waiting lists because demand has started to rise once more; and it is even difficult to secure a restaurant reservation on a weekend unless you book way in advance. But this all goes to show that things are picking up!
QAnd the outlook for the next 12 months?
AThe climate will further prosper as business confidence continues to improve, employers offer pay rises in order to retain staff, and individuals have a greater disposable income to spend in the region. We should see a snowball effect - it's very exciting.

The apparent talent shortage could pose a barrier to growth, so organisations need to develop considered recruitment and retention strategies, whilst investing heavily in employee training and development.

Good people are key to business progression, and experienced personnel seem to be in short supply. I therefore think it's important to find candidates with the right energy and attitude, before providing them with an nurturing environment in which they can grow.
QWhy does a business like yours thrive here?
AOur business was born and bred in Leeds, and Passmore's deep-rooted family values continue to be embraced by the whole team 50 years after we were first established. Our honest approach sees us being clear about what we offer to customers and delivering on our promises - something that Yorkshire folk demand. We've always prided ourselves on this, but reputation is more important than ever given the ever-increasing use of social media and consumers' tendency to share opinions and reviews online.
QWhat advice would you give to someone relocating their business to Yorkshire, or setting up a new company in the county?
AGive customers what they want, for a fair price
Realise you can continually learn from the knowledgeable business people around you, who are willing to pass on their thoughts and advice
Be prepared to give something back - it is very enriching
Develop long-lasting relationships with all key stakeholders.
QWhere in Yorkshire would you go to switch off from work?
AFiley. I love sitting on the end of Filey Brigg, watching the waves pound against the rocks, and you can't beat the walk from Filey to the cliffs at Flamborough Head. It's one place that I'm glad hasn't changed.
QAnd your favourite restaurant?
AKendells Bistro in Leeds. The food, menu and atmosphere are fantastic. You just need to book well in advance.
QIs there a hidden gem in Yorkshire that you feel deserves a special mention?
ASt Aidan's nature reserve on the banks of the River Aire in Leeds. Formerly an open cast coal mine, the vast site is now home to thousands of birds, animals and wild flowers. It is visually stunning and very tranquil, because so many people don't even know it exists. And it's right on my doorstep!
QCan you sum up Yorkshire in five words?
AStraightforward, decent and honest folk.

Tony Passmore, Managing Director, Passmore Group, 10th March 2015, 12:37 PM