Originally a branch of Misslebrook and Weston, grocers, based in Newport, the premises were owned by a Mr Way and were rented to William Orchard from 1865 for an annual rent of £50. Originally Mr Way had Alexander House built as a private residence around 1845.
In 1867 William Orchard had the opportunity to buy the business outright when it was put up for auction. The auction was held at Murrow's Hotel, Freshwater Bay, now known as the Albion Hotel.
William Orchard was the successful bidder and with the help of his son, William Thomas, now 23 years old, he started to expand the business which was then known as "Orchard and Son".