PBM visits Hilton Banks, the family-owned company behind the HB42 brand of sealants and adhesives, to discuss product sustainability, merchant support and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…
Like many of the independent merchants it has supplied over the years, Hilton Banks is a family-owned business with a long history. Established in around 1850 by Benjamin Banks, (the great great grandfather of the current MD Robert Banks), the company delivered hearthstone and building products in the London area with his stable of 40 horses and carriages.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Benjamin’s son Charlie started his own company, Chas Banks & Son, and was joined by his son, Cecil, soon after World War One. Under the leadership of Cecil’s son, Edward, the 1950s and 1960s saw Chas Banks & Son buy the Hilton Rider company, which was incorporated into the business and the product lines were expanded to include Hilton’s brand of paints, varnishes and polishes.
Some of the companies Hilton Banks supplied back in the early twentieth century are still customers today and the company continues to thrive under family ownership. In 2013, it launched the HB42 brand of sealants and adhesives, specifically designed to supply a high-end trade range of sealants with clear packaging, sensible prices, and good merchant margins.
Named after the famous reference in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that the number 42 is the answer to the “ultimate question of life, the universe and everything”, the company lays claim to having a lot of simple answers for the trade. The management and dedicated HB42 team state they are committed to expanding the range with only products that meet the high performance standards of the building, plumbing and decorating trades.
Scarlet McAleese-Banks, Marketing Director at Hilton Banks, explains: “Sealant and adhesive ranges must be strong, durable and sustainable but they must also be profitable. We believe our range ticks all the boxes in a responsible way, without compromising the quality of our product or our service to our merchant customers.”
Formulas in the range employ advanced hybrid polymer technology, giving ‘outstanding trade strength and adhesion’ and Scarlet continues: “Sealants and adhesives are so often the go-to answer for a miscellany of making good jobs when finishing kitchen and bathrooms, so while installers need trade-tough, reliable performance from the range they use, merchants need a recognisable and reliable brand they can easily recommend and sell at the trade counter. HB42 is that brand.”
She adds: “As a family owned company with over 150 years of supplying products to merchants, we understand the need to support counter staff with information and point of sale help.
“Product demonstrations from our dedicated sales team can open up sales over the trade counter. Knowing a range by seeing the product in action can help counter staff upsell and add more sales, and Hilton Banks regularly does this, visiting merchants in our recognisable vans. Fixer Fred, our company mascot, is also a regular at breakfast mornings, product demos and buying group tradeshows, helping us to build the brand with merchant customers too.”
While the demand for trade strength sealants and adhesives from merchant customers remains strong, there is another pressing issue that needs tackling: the need to reduce single use plastics. This is important as recent figures on plastic waste in the construction industry make for shocking reading. Some 23% of the total plastic consumed in the UK comes from our sector, with 20,000 tonnes of plastic being sent to landfill every year. It is estimated that over 2 million single use plastic sealant cartridges are put into landfill every week in the UK.
Scarlet comments:“With the impact on the environment in mind, we are now one of the first premium sealant suppliers to be providing a solution around sustainable packagingand have launched our best-selling HB42 All-in-One Sealant and Adhesive in 400ml foil packaging.
“HB42 ‘Eco-Foil’ removes the environmental problem of disposing of the single use plastic cartridge normally associated with sealants and other similar products. The 400ml foils produce 95% less waste than the single use tubes and users get 38% more sealant than in the 290ml plastic tube.”
The foils are very durable whilst the foil guns are easy-to-use and remain extremely clean throughout their use. They also take a plastic sealant cartridge so can be used with every type of sealant if required. At the end of their life, the waste left over from foils is said to be tiny compared to the plastic tubes and the foils are much easier to dispose of.
Scarlet concludes: “Hilton Banks cares about the environment and although construction products have to be strong and durable, we are always looking at ways to reduce our impact on the environment. For a limited time, for every case of 12 foils purchased, a foil sealant gun will be available for merchants to give away to customers.”
For more information on Hilton Banks and HB42, visit https://www.hb42.co.uk/hb42-videos/