Wholesaler increases turnover by 20 per cent thanks to warehouse investment and buying group membership
The wholesaler, which has supplied the Dumfries and Galloway region for more than 27 years, has grown rapidly thanks to support from Fairway Foodservice.
Founded in 1987, Thomsons Foodservice had developed a reputation for excellence in supplying chilled and fresh meat products. But in order to improve its service to customers, the wholesaler needed to expand into offering frozen and ambient produce, which led to the decision to join Fairway Foodservice.
The buying group membership coincided with a move to a new 15,000 sq. ft. warehouse on June 1 last year, and in the following 12 months Thomsons Foodservice significantly increased its turnover, largely due to a substantial increase in sales of frozen and ambient produce.
Michael Watt, general manager of Thomsons Foodservice, said: “We had been looking to grow the business for five or six years, and took a bit of a risk investing in our new warehouse. Joining a buying group was absolutely essential to growing the business and making the new warehouse work.
“Fortunately an opportunity came up to join Fairway, this allowed us to expand in both the frozen and ambient sector, complementing our existing experience in fresh and chilled food.
“It enabled us to use the increased capacity that our new warehouse provided, and since we moved into the new base and joined Fairway on June 1 2014, we’ve increased our turnover by 20 per cent.
“A big factor in that has been increasing the frozen and ambient side of the business, which has grown from about 5 per cent to 25 per cent overall, as well as being more competitive on pricing through the buying group.
“I feel that in order to move forward, independent wholesalers simply have to be part of a buying group to survive. It has made a massive difference both to the business and our customers, who now have a greater choice of products available.
“Our customers don’t want to be dealing with multiple suppliers, so it is imperative that wholesalers are able to offer as comprehensive a range of products as possible, which is exactly what we’re always looking to do.”
Thomsons Foodservice is one of 17 independent wholesalers that are members of Fairway Foodservice. The buying group recorded a collective turnover of £556m in 2014, and has access to more than 560 own-brand products benchmarked against competing brands, as well as collective buying power on hundreds of other products.
Members can also access a wealth of marketing and promotional resources, comprehensive technical information on all Fairway Foodservice products and a range of other administrative and technical benefits.
Chris Binge, chief executive of Fairway Foodservice, said: When Michael and Jackie first enquired about joining Fairway I knew they would be successful. They are incredibly nice and genuine people as well as being hard working, customer focused and intelligent.
“We’re really pleased that the move to a new warehouse and membership with our buying group is paying dividends for Thomsons Foodservice.
“The growth in turnover that Thomsons Foodservice has recorded over the last 12 months is typical of our membership. The market is buoyant at the moment, as reflected in an 11 per cent increase in turnover across the group, collectively generating £556m for 2014.
“We’re always striving to help our members in any way possible to increase their sales and profitability and maintain their independent business identity; to take advantage of collective purchasing of goods, services and technology but also to allow them to meet and share ideas and experiences with each other.
“A wise man learns from his experience and a clever man learns from other people’s experiences – we try to share wisdom around and it’s great to hear of success stories like this.
“Members’ successes are extremely gratifying to all of us at Fairway who have helped in some way to support them. I am sure that Thomsons Foodservice will continue to grow profitably over the coming years with their drive, determination and hard work and our continued support.”