Today’s Group member Savage & Whitten was celebrating last month after scooping accolades at the Federation of Wholesale Distributor’s Gold Medal Awards.
The annual event is held at the prestigious HAC’s Royal Artillery Gardens and celebrates the achievements and innovations in the UK wholesale sector. This year the Gold Medal Awards had its highest attendance ever, with more than 800 visitors gathering to celebrate excellence in wholesale. Today’s Group was proud to see a total of seven finalists at the event and would like to congratulate all winners, finalists and those who were nominated.
Savage & Whitten is based in Northern Ireland and is undergoing a major expansion moving to a new 56,000sqft warehouse in Newry to increase productivity, range and provide better value and service to its customers. It has also opened a new central distribution for fresh, frozen and chilled foods, providing an exciting opportunity for symbol retailers to purchase the majority of their products in one place.
Customer support covers everything from EPOS, store development, promotions, POS and category management to marketing and sales support. In excess of £45K has been invested into developing its ‘showroom’ stores to inspire existing symbol retailers as well as to attract new ones.
The business grew sales by a landmark £10m in the past year, with turnover of £57.4m in 2014 compared with £47.4m the previous year and £39m the year before that. It has ambitions to invest further into technology to improve efficiencies for customers, including electronic point of delivery.
The other six Today’s Group finalists were:
Service to Caterers:
Based in Glasgow, Failte Foods is an independent wholesaler delivering to all foodservice industry sectors from takeaways, restaurants and schools to the NHS, care homes and even oil rigs. The business was established in 1995 as Failte Wholesale and after a number of successful years was renamed Failte Food Service to reflect the businesses growing commitment to caterers. The business is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4pm with next-day delivery open to customers that place their order by 4pm. There is a minimum order value of just £30 for deliveries.
Best depot manager:
Rob Eastwood, Small Beer
On-trade specialist wholesaler Small Beer was started by husband and wife Tony and Judith Eastwood in 1980 and was an immediate success as it supported the public’s growing demand for quality cask ales. The business prides itself on offering the most comprehensive range of cask conditioned beers, craft beers and traditional ciders, together with a wide range of lagers, keg biters, wines, spirits and soft drinks in the UK, delivering to licensees up and down the eastern side of England. Today, the business supplies more than 2000 products to more than 500 outlets and many key events and festivals.
Vaseva Quarau, Wanis
Vaseva Qarau joined Wanis four years ago as a receptionist but when Wanis managing director saw she had a natural flair with customers she was quickly offered a job as a field sales representative and was recently promoted again to sales manager. A former Rugby player and ex-military first aid officer, Vaseva is confident, self-assured and comfortable working in a male-dominated environment. She is a highly skilled and motivated sales person and following big wins this year such as the Co-op, she has secured in excess of £300K for the business. She has also helped to increase the export business from £2m-£5m in the past year.
Best Cash & Carry manager
Nasser Ali, Lubna Foods
Lubna Foods is a group three member of Today’s Group, which has invested substantially in technology and expansion over the past year. The rewards from this investment are already apparent with turnover increasing by 20% year-on-year and as they strive towards group one membership which will help them to deliver even more benefits to their growing customer base. Managing director Nasser Ali has a goal to hit the £20m mark in 2016.
Bipin Mandalia, Chetan Wholesale
Chetan Cash & Carry was established in 1979 and supplies confectionery, snacks, soft drinks, beers, wines and spirits to independent retailers and caterers across London and the South East from a 60,000sqft depot in Barking, Essex. In its first year of trading, Chetan turned over £300K.This year the business has grown sales to £38m, up 8.6% from the previous year and has invested £2m into a new two-acre storage facility, helping to increase capacity by two thousand pallets and increase car parking spaces by 75%.
Best Cash & Carry team
Holland Bazaar has traditionally operated as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler distributing to supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and caterers throughout London. In April 2014, following a £1.7m investment into much bigger premises in Edmonton – conveniently located just off North Circular road – it has strategically diversified into a potent mix of ambient, chilled and frozen ranges. To offer customers the ultimate in convenience the depot is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, capturing the early morning and late night trade. The impact of this investment and commitment is already being felt across the business with sales hitting a record £34m, up 70% on the previous year.