A BLACK Country firm is not only moving to a bigger base but also plans to expand its empire by adding another nine shops to its chain by the end of the year.

Grape Tree, based at the Pensnett Estate, sells more than 600 lines of 'feel-good' foods, including dried fruits, nuts, and nutrition and energy bars.

It is the same estate where company founders, Nick Shutts and Nigel Morris created the hugely successful Julian Graves business 25 years ago.

The retailer grew to have 335 shops before being sold to NBTY Europe, the owners of Holland and Barrett, in 2008.

When Julian Graves went into administration in 2012, the businessmen saw a gap in the market.

They launched Grape Tree, which now employs more than 200 people, with 15 based at the warehousing and distribution facility in Kingswinford.

Mr Shutts said the company have ambitious plans to increase the established network of 41 shops to  50 by the end of the year and added: "It has not been easy. We have put a lot of effort into growing the company and we can now see a really strong future for it.

"We are really pleased to have bigger premises on the estate we know so well.”