Merchant profile: Building relationships

Published:  12 June, 2017

BMN recently caught up with Mark Evans, TG Builders Merchants general manager at Tudor Griffiths Group, to talk about the company’s newest merchant branch and how the business manages a wide range of interconnected divisions.

Tudor Griffiths launched its latest builders’ merchants branch in Bridgnorth in August 2016, taking the company’s merchanting division to a total of eight branches across Shropshire, Cheshire and mid Wales.

Mark Evans, TG Builders’ Merchants general manager, said this was a great acquisition for the group. “Bridgnorth is a market town where we saw a whole host of potential opportunities, and so we decided to open our latest branch on a six-acre site at Chartwell Park,” said Mr Evans.

“It’s close to one of our existing branches near Kidderminster, as the close relationship of all our divisions means it doesn’t make economic sense for us to open a branch that’s too far out of the way of the others.”

Mr Evans said Bridgnorth was the perfect environment for Tudor Griffiths to expand into, and the new branch now had over 11,000 lines of stock available.

He continued: “We’re particularly pleased that the Bridgnorth branch has allowed us to bring a former brownfield site back into use and that the project has created around 20 new jobs for local people.

“Business at each of our merchant branches is built on the more traditional approach focusing on trade customers, but thanks to the size and scope of our Bridgnorth site, we now have an opportunity to stock more retail products, household and DIY items too.”

The Bridgnorth branch joins a network of merchants run by the Tudor Griffiths Group – including Ellesmere, Nantwich, Northwich, Oswestry, Chester, Welshpool, and Kidderminster.

The expansion into a new area isn’t just limited to new sales opportunities for Tudor Griffiths, as the company is fully aware of the importance of continuing to grow and develop, and they’re committed to embracing the very latest technology, and the opportunities it creates.

This includes the launch of an e-commerce platform, currently in development, that will initially offer a full delivery service for retail customers, with a more in-depth service for trade customers, including trade pricing, repeating orders, and invoice management.

Adapt or die

The business has needed this ability to adapt in order to properly manage its many interconnected divisions. As well as its network or builders’ merchants, Tudor Griffiths Group also operates 12 ready-mixed concrete plants, two sand and gravel quarries, a sea-dredged sand operation, recycling services, and skip hire.

These divisions all work together in one form or another and form a symbiotic relationship where each grows independently while supporting the growth of other divisions.

“We’re a family-owned company that has been in business for over 140 years, and the interconnected business model is one of the key reasons for our success,” said Mr Evans.

The joined-up approach is a big part of why Tudor Griffiths Group has maintained a local branch network across Shropshire, Cheshire and mid Wales, rather than adopting a centralised operation.

“We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to expand or potentially improve some of the locations we’ve already established, either through refurbishments, developments or bigger locations in the immediate areas where we already have a foothold and have built strong relationships with our customers,” continued Mr Evans.

“A vital focus for us is to ensure we always have the stock available to meet our customers’ demands, and thanks to our network of branches working together, we’re able to supply both trade and retail customers comfortably.”

Community focus

This localised development, and the family culture of the business, means that the group has always had a hand in community efforts and interaction when and where it can.

Mr Evans said: “The opening of the Bridgnorth branch was a real community event, with family fun day entertainment, and a competition for local schoolchildren to design a school garden.

“The winners even had the honour of cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony with our managing director Tudor Griffiths.”

The company is also very aware of the implications of owning a quarry in a local area, such as the Wood Lane quarry in Ellesmere, where Tudor Griffiths sources much of its aggregates supply.

“We have taken particular care with the areas that have already been excavated to return them to nature, and to create a wildlife haven where visitors can enjoy their surroundings and get a really close-up view of the birds from our on-site hide,” said Mr Evans.

“We’ve created a wildlife classroom on-site too, where local schoolchildren get the chance to study outside and learn more about the local environment.”

For a company that is both diverse and thoroughly interconnected, Tudor Griffiths Group relies on not only the healthy relationships within the business, but also each and every one of its relationships with the local businesses and communities that surround it.

This culture is one that many merchants across the country can relate to, and perhaps learn something from.

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