Staff at Somerset company marking 250th anniversary

A SOMERSET firm which now employs 700 staff across 42 branches is celebrating its 250th year of trading. Bradfords Building Supplies is the oldest builders’ merchants in the UK, and recently won Independent Builders Merchant of the Year at the BMA awards. The company, which was first launched in Yeovil in 1770, will mark the milestone year by investing in a series of initiatives.

David Young, the company’s chief executive, said: “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.”

The anniversary annoucements include a partnership with Mental Health UK, with fundraising initiatives through Bradfords charity of the year scheme, a partnership with trades charity Band of Builders to officially launch the charity in the South West, and commissioning of a commemorative truck. Giles Bradford is the communications and engagement manager, and one of six Bradford family members currently working in the business. He 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 also continued their sponsorship of the Exeter Chiefs, and broadened support for South West apprentices beyond Yeovil and Weston Super Mare. Branch events are planned for customers and suppliers throughout the year culminating in Bradfords Day, the official birthday on September 17. The firm is also producing a commemorative video series to explore the past, present and future of Bradfords.

For more information on Bradfords Building Supplies and its anniversary plans, visit www.bradfords.co.uk.

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