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Royal visit at Leeds-based manufacturer

Leeds-based Sound Leisure is an innovative, family-run manufacturing business, most famously known for producing classic and vinyl jukeboxes.

This week the Sound Leisure head office and factory in Crossgates received a royal visit, to celebrate over 40 years of the firm’s British manufacturing capabilities. HRH Princess Anne was given a tour of the 80,000 sq ft factory to see first-hand how their range of classic jukeboxes are made.

Managing director, Chris Black, comments: “This has been a real highlight of 40+ years of business. It’s been an absolute honour to welcome HRH Princess Anne to our Leeds based factory, where she met with our dedicated team and international distributors. We were able to demonstrate the methods used in the production of our handcrafted classic Jukeboxes. Her Royal Highness unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit and that will take pride of place in our reception. We couldn’t be prouder to be a family-run, British manufacturing business and want to express our thanks to The Princess Royal for the time she spent with us.”

Sound Leisure’s 80+ employees are highly skilled in traditional woodworking, metal process and detailed electronic and mechanical design. Further divisions of the business include SLKids, suppliers of children distraction areas to locations such as shopping centres and hospitals, and a service division that supplies jukeboxes and background music systems nationally.

Chris Black, continues: “Not many people expect a team of Yorkshire based craftsmen and women to be behind the production of classic jukeboxes, but we’ve been making them for 41 years. In fact Sound Leisure is now the longest continuous manufacturer of Jukeboxes in the world. Not long after my father started the company, the CD replaced vinyl, so we had to quickly adapt our business, and have continued to do this through to digital music today. Interestingly it now has gone full circle and we’re the only company in the world to make vinyl playing 45 and LP jukeboxes.

“The vinyl jukeboxes have proven extremely popular, with sales increasing 500% in the last two years. We ship 75% of our machines abroad, as far as Dubai, the US and Japan, many of which end up in private residences. Even though we ship many abroad we still have customers visit us in person to finalise the specification of their bespoke jukebox. Recently we had a customer from Colorado who only had one hour to create his dream. He landed in London, caught the train to Leeds, walked into our showroom with a wood sample, specified his order, caught the train back to London and flew home! His machine has just been delivered and looks fantastic on location.”

“Our customers include royalty, athletes, TV and film actors, however the majority are people that just appreciate hand-built quality, enjoy listening to music rather than just having it playing in the background whilst they do something else. Many remember the Golden age of the Jukebox, however many are younger and are looking for something individual to invest in rather than a mass-produced item that will end up in landfill in five years time. Our Jukes end up in many areas where you would not expect, there is even one in St Pancras station, free to use for those passing by.”