Bradfords Building Supplies is celebrating an incredible milestone in 2020 by marking its 250th anniversary. What is surely the oldest builders’ merchant in the UK had a turnover of around £150 million in 2019 and currently employs 700 staff across 42 branches. The business also recently won the Independent Builders’ Merchant of the Year accolade at the industry awards in November.
David Young, CEO of Bradfords Building Supplies, who in the past five years has doubled company turnover, commented: “Bradfords has stood the test of time. We are a great British business success story. The 250th anniversary is a time for celebration and also for reflection.
“In the past few months, we’ve questioned our customers, suppliers and team (past and present) to consider why the business has endured. The feedback has unanimously focused on the grassroots customer service that we provide for the local communities in which we operate. So, our focus for 2020 is to get even closer to our customers and put all our energy into being the best and easiest merchant to do business with.”
Giles Bradford, the merchant’s Communications & Engagement Manager and one of six Bradford family members currently working in the business, said: “In 1770 George III was on the throne and British Explorer, Captain James Cook discovered Australia. Also, my ancestor, William Bradford of Yeovil started a merchant business. A business that has witnessed the Industrial Revolution, survived two world wars, endured recessions, undergone significant diversifications, made numerous acquisitions and most critical to its success, always embraced innovation!
“During its 250-year history the company has pivoted, receded, grown and is currently going strong with 42 branches employing over 700 staff and a growing ecommerce offering.”
Bradfords reports that it has chosen to use this significant birthday as a platform to invest in initiatives that benefit and champion the trades. This includes:
- Commitment to a partnership with Mental Health UK, with fundraising initiatives through the Bradfords charity of the year scheme.
- Commitment to a partnership with trades charity Band of Builders to officially launch the charity in the South West. Band of Builders is a community that helps members of the construction industry when times get tough.
- Commissioning of a commemorative truck which will be supported by a community engagement project to name all Bradfords’ LGV fleet by local primary school children, who through the initiative will learn about careers in the trades and road safety.
- Continued commitment to sponsorship of the Exeter Chiefs, supported with a grassroots rugby programme across the South West to encourage more young people into the sport.
- Broadening support for South West apprentices beyond Yeovil and Weston Super Mare through the supply of materials and toolkits to South West colleges and customers with apprenticeship programmes.
- Branch events for customers and suppliers throughout the year culminating in Bradfords Day, the official birthday on 17th September 2020.
A commemorative video series will explore the past, present and future of Bradfords and the first film can be seen here: