Benchmark branch No.6 opens in Irlam.

It's branch No.6 for Benchmark Building Supplies

Published:  15 November, 2012

MANCHESTER: Independent builders' merchant Benchmark Building Supplies celebrated the opening of its sixth branch in Greater Manchester on 5 November.

The new trading depot located in Irlam gives the company a presence in Salford and western areas of Manchester, marking a significant step in solidifying the company’s position as the leading independent in the region. Strategically situated outside the M60, the depot complements the existing branch network and promises to deliver improvements in the customer service and delivery capabilities of the business.

Market research highlighted Irlam as an area currently under-served by builders merchants and ideal for an independent merchant like Benchmark to move into.

Local contractor Jim Eley said: “We were having to travel at least five miles to get to our nearest merchant, often with traffic problems in the morning. My lads were off site for over an hour. Benchmark’s stock levels and quality of service are just what the area needs.”

Benchmark managing director Phill Brown worked hard ito find the correct trading location based on the border between Irlam and Cadishead and thanked the council for their assistance in the process: “We had a lot of help from the Economic Development team at Salford council to get the perfect site,” he said.

Benchmark intends to employ local people and has already created two new apprenticeship opportunities taken up by Irlam youngsters. Mr Brown noted that involvement in the BMF apprenticeship scheme has paid great dividends throughout the business and we now have over 10 apprentices coming through the ranks.”

The company has also organised ‘construction road show’ events in the more deprived areas of Greater Manchester to help unemployed young people gain work experience in the construction industry and link them with local colleges and tradesmen.

Trading conditions this year have been challenging for the industry, with the UK officially experiencing a double dip recession and a wet summer further dampening construction activity and consumer spending on home improvement. However, Benchmark has seen growth by diversifying into different market sectors and working more with the public sector and social housing framework agreements.

Earlier this year Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited the company to congratulate it on its work in addressing unemployment and creating apprenticeships.

Last week, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, visited the Benchmark Green training academy in Oldham to see the work the merchant does to get tradesmen accredited and ready for opportunities offered by the forthcoming Green Deal initiative.

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