Bennetts: The company with a proud family history

The original company was founded by 'Big Barry Adams' who sold discount goods from Great Yarmouth's Britannia Pier in the late 1950s.

When BB Adams was first founded television was in black and white, transistor radios were all the rage and computers had not even been invented as we know them today.

Barry, whose real name was Basil, first saw an advertisement for a short term lease on a shop at the end of Britannia Pier in Yarmouth.

He took two further leases on shops in the Regent Road area and diversified, one selling jewellery and the other radio and electrical.

An opening to expand into Norwich arrived and he opened a shop at Guildhall Hill in Norwich and that was the start of the BB Adams empire.

Over several years, stores were opened in Dereham, Cromer, Thetford, Mildenhall and Wymondham together with the flagship store in King Street.

Big Barry's son, Dean Adams, who went on to become sales and purchasing director for Bennetts, together with his uncle Gerald Buffini and chartered accountant Richard Jackson, bought the company off his dad in December 1985 in a deal worth more than �1 million.

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A year after Dean and his two business partners bought out his father, the company was taken over by Bennett and Fountain. The firm, however, was later then bought back as 'things didn't go quite the way we wanted'.

The company, now based at its �3.5m headquarters in Bowthorpe, employs about 300 people and has 14 stores, with its 15th opening in King's Lynn last year, seven trade outlets and its website Bennetts Online.

It is also said to be one of the UK's largest independent electrical retailers and in 2008 was named as the 'Best large independent electrical retailer – consumer electronics' by The Independent Retailer magazine.

Speaking last year, Mr Adams, who ran his first shop at the age of 16 and whose dad died in 2005, said: 'We have a wonderfully loyal customer base. If you buy something from us, you tend to come back.

'I've seen three generations of families purchase from us which is great – I get a buzz from seeing that and we don't take that for granted.

'We still have members of staff who started at the same time as me and our relationship with our suppliers is very important. The independent store is very important to manufacturers.'

Meanwhile, the company has continued to be the first in the region to bring the latest technology to the people of East Anglia.

The company last year hosted the three-day Bennetts Hi-Tech show, which was in its 18th year.

More than 15,000 people attended the free event which raised money for Cancer Research with a raffle.