Two members of the team that have powered one of Northamptonshire’s biggest electrical wholesalers to success over 20 years have been recognised with directorships in the company’s anniversary year.
Midshires Electrical & Lighting took its first unit in Harburn Close on the Crow Lane Industrial Estate in 2003. Launching with a team of four and with a turnover of just over £1m in its first year, Midshires has grown to a team of 32 and a turnover of £13m last year, and it has gradually expanded to fill four units in Hartburn Close rather than just the one.
As the anniversary celebrations got under way, Managing Director Ben Fountain announced that Operations Manager Craig Rose and Senior Sales Manager Jamie Faulkner would become Operations Director and Sales Director respectively.
It’s all part of the futureproofing of a business that has learned to grow and evolve with the times and the expectations of the market, while never losing its focus on its core values of delivering an excellent, friendly customer experience.
Thoughts from the Team
Ben Fountain said:
“I think the reason we’ve been successful is about the people we have brought into the business. We like to see people come up through the business, Craig and Jamie both started with us when they were teenagers, and it means that a young person is learning about the way we like to do things, from people who buy into the ethos of the company.
“We’ve had some great people over the years, some are still with us, some have gone on to do other things, but when you build a successful team, you are on the way to getting it right.”
Although the company has a trade counter where anyone can call in to pick up what they need, the Midshires app, developed and introduced fairly recently, is how most customers now manage their orders and accounts.
Midshires Electrical & Lighting works with the corporate, housing and construction sectors, partnering with them to advise and guide as to the best products and supplies on the market, aiming to stay ahead of the game in a sector that has changed significantly over the past 20 years.
Sustainability is now as high on the agenda in the electrical and lighting business as cost, with customers having to meet the demands of official regulations as well as the environmental targets of their own businesses and their supply chains.
“Businesses go through changes, there was a time when we were promoting LED lights as a game-changer, even though they were expensive, you would recoup your money quicker – now LED is everywhere and for a fraction of the price,” said Ben.
“The fact is that however your business changes, certain principles remain the same. I have always believed that the best way to go about running a business is just to be straight with people. There are times when we’re not the cheapest, I’d rather be upfront about that. The products we supply are high quality, but cost is often a factor, and I’d rather be honest right from the start.
“At the same time, when we’re going through challenging times, as we have seen lately, we try to be fair. If someone is obviously going through a difficult period, if we’ve built a trusting relationship with them, we’ll cut them some slack, they’ll appreciate that and we know we’ll get paid eventually.
“I’m delighted, in our 20th anniversary year, to make Craig and Jamie directors. They’ve been with us virtually from the start, and they deserve it.”
Craig Rose began his career with an electrical installation course at college, mainly because some of his mates were enrolling and he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life. From his first interview at Midshires, which he admits he almost didn’t attend because he was so nervous, he’s become a valued member of the team.
“Looking back, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come,” said Craig.
“Those first few years for me were very special, and I worked with a great young team. What I’ve always liked is that because Midshires is independent, all the decisions about what the company does are made here in these four walls. The walls have expanded out over time and the company has grown, but the basic principles remain the same.
“Everyone who works here knows the reason why we do things the way we do – adapting and evolving but providing great customer service, looking out for them and always trying to stand out from the competition.
“I think for Jamie and me, in terms of being made directors, it’s great to have that recognition of the part we’ve played in the success of the business. In the short term it’s pretty much business as usual, but longer term I want to be part of taking this company forward, and securing its long-term future by just keeping doing what we do best.”
“It’s fantastic to have your contribution recognised like this, but I just want to keep doing a good job, with a likeable team. We work hard to get the job done and make sure we look after our customers, keeping an eye on what’s new in the market and what they need to be thinking about in terms of products.
“It’s a very different emphasis now on how we look at energy saving and sustainability, but the most important thing is to keep looking forward and building on where we are.”