Merchants such as Bradite stockist Abington Decorating Supplies are expecting a post-pandemic uplift in sales when building and decorating work, stalled by COVID-19, gathers pace in the months ahead. PBM reports.
Based in Northampton, Abington Decorating Supplies is a family firm that has catalogued nearly 40 years in the business, building a five-star reputation for its excellent service. Founded in 1982 by the father of present MD Ian Dick, the business was originally both a painting contractor and a retail outlet. With the contracting side of the business being sold in 1985, emphasis switched to becoming a reputable decorators’ merchant.
Ian, who joined the company in 1984, explained: “We have quite a spread of business. There’s a large retail side, and the interior design side that my wife runs and this includes Little Greene, sister brand of Bradite.”
The merchant side of the business is where the industrial coatings can be found, and the varied customer base covers both trade and the general public.
“Dad set up the business to handle small to medium sized painting contracts — that was the aim rather than the larger corporations and that’s still the ethos,” says Ian. And this approach has served him well through the challenges of the last year: “With the larger contractors, their jobs have been put on hold so they have seen a massive downturn. The work’s still there but while people are up against it they are not really bothered about having the factory floor painted.”
Conversely, Ian notes that the small to medium customer has been very busy, saying: “In the first wave (of the pandemic) everybody wanted their houses painted.” And whilst there had been a slackening in the most recent lockdown as people were perhaps more resistant to having decorators in the home, there is now light at the end of the tunnel: “I would say that overall the building industry has been a good sector to be in, compared with hospitality or travel for instance. I think we have been pretty lucky (and) we’ve never had to shut the shop. We were essential retail because we were allied to the building trade.”
The firm’s connection with Bradite goes back some years. The early relationship began with Little Greene’s exclusive range of paints and this then progressed to Bradite’s industrial range of specialist coatings.
Of his long relationship with Bradite’s National Sales Manager James Burton, Ian said: “I have known James for a long, long time, since he worked with his father in a decorators’ merchant. Because of his knowledge of working at both ends of the business, he knows what people require in a paint coating. So, because of my relationship with James I thought I’d give Bradite a go.”
The result? “I have been very impressed with the range. Its growth has been greater than the growth of our company. People like the product. They tend to use it and stick to it.”
Ian says he’s also happy to support a British company where, if need be, he can call and speak to the owner whilst he also speaks highly of support from Bradite, particularly on larger jobs. He revealed: “I know I can call James and he or one of his colleagues will come on site. That’s very important, particularly with industrial coatings.”
Abington carries the Bradite core selection of specialist coatings, amounting to some 80% of its range whilst another bonus is that the company already had a Little Greene tinting machine which also works with Bradite products, so there was no need for a new large machinery outlay.
Looking to the post-Covid future Ian said: “I do think that there’s a pent-up demand. I think as we come nearer the end of this the UK’s going to have a massive upturn for at least a couple of years, certainly in our industry.
“Furthermore, there’s a new, younger generation of painters who are a lot more interested in coatings and are looking for new technology. James is aware of that, and that is one of the reasons that Bradite are bringing these products out.”
For more information on Bradite’s range of coatings and support services for stockists, www.bradite.com/