From selling out of a garage at a Brundall home to a £1m turnover in seven years
08:00 11 June 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
An entrepreneur who started selling temporary fencing out of his garage in Brundall has built the business up to employ 10 people and pass the £1m turnover barrier inside seven years.
Michael Bezance has since been joined by his son Tom in running True Traders and the pair are eying further growth by taking on a three-strong sales team in the coming months.
The largely online enterprise has expanded its range from temporary barrier fencing into many other products, ranging from garden and allotment netting to construction safety equipment, and the business has been given a presence in the high street since they opened a catalogue warehouse in Yarmouth last year.
Tom, who left his job as a city oil trader to become marketing director a year ago, said: “My father started the business in 2007 after retiring as a purchasing manager at Bayer, the agrochemicals firm.
“I don’t know where he came up with the idea of selling barrier fencing - and I don’t think he knows either!”
Tom said the business took off in 2008 after his father won a competition that gave him rent-free accommodation for a year on a Norwich business park. True Traders subsequently moved to Great Yarmouth’s Harfreys Industrial Estate before the present 6,300sq ft catalogue warehouse in the town’s Caister Road was opened in April last year.
Tom said: “Breaking the £1m turnover mark is a significant milestone for True Traders. It has been the main target of the company since day one and everyone here has worked very hard to achieve it. We are very proud of where we are now.”
He said they were now re-structuring and would shortly be recruiting for a new dedicated sales team.
The company currently ran seven online shops, each with its own particular niche; one of a number of aims for the current financial year was to combine these into a single superstore under the True Traders brand.
This would allow truetraders.co.uk to become a one-stop shop to help customers.
Tom said: “We want to make the whole experience for customers as smooth and effortless as possible. This new superstore, coupled with easily contactable sales staff, will be a huge step in the right direction.”
While their barrier fencing was widely used by construction and power companies, they were also looking to widen its use by domestic customers. “We are launching a pink fence for people who might be putting on a party,” he said.
Earlier this year, the father and son were “overwhelmed” when more than 350 people applied for one job in just 48 hours.
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