There aren’t many businesses within the fencing and landscaping sectors that boast a website as comprehensive as Bradfordbased Estate Sawmills but then this is a firm that stands out in so many ways.
Founded by Michael Calvert in 1984 from a farm in Heaton, West Yorkshire, Estate Sawmills is now situated on a busy 3-acre yard right next door to Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground. Successful entrepreneur Chris Powell bought the company back in 2020 just as the pandemic struck and has, over the past three years, doubled the turnover with some astute decision making as well as computerised automation.
Chris, ably assisted by managers Martin Parnaby and Leanne Hooley, has overseen a success story that really is an example to businesses everywhere.
“We’ve continued to build on the great work of Michael Calvert when it comes to creating strong and lasting relationships with every one of our customers, be they contractors, timber yards or homeowners,” explained Chris who hails from Halifax.
That is only part of the story for a company that focuses geographically on Yorkshire and Lancashire. Chris, born ironically in the month that Estate started trading, has instituted an integrated, state-of-the-art IT system encompassing retail sales, deliveries and stock levels.
Martin, who joined the business six years ago, commented: “That has played a big part in our success. It’s turned us into a much more efficient operation and we know exactly how the business is doing at any given point in time. We really are in control of our destiny.
“We’ve also expanded the manufacturing side thanks to the purchase of a Panelmaster fencing machine from Southam Automation. We are now able to produce over 500 feather edge panels every day in order to satisfy booming demand from our trade and retail customers. “We are also able to fulfil bespoke fencing requirements with the machinery we have at our disposal,” he added.
An extensive range of supplier partnerships, including the likes of industry heavyweights KDM,
Durapost, AJ Scott, Taylormade, Millboard and BSW Timber, are also contributing to the growth of the business.
Chris went on: “We stock a wide range of their products in our yard and through our sales counter.
We have embraced the composite fencing and decking technologies that will only see growth in demand over the coming years. We have to think of the future and stocking a growing selection of recycled and part recycled items will only help in that respect.
“We have an approximate 50/50 split between trade and retail customers over the summer months with demand from contractors keeping us going over the winter.
“We have also invested heavily in our website and social media presence. Our Instagram and Facebook pages, for instance, are actively driving sales.
“We believe that no one can compete with us on price but that doesn’t mean for one second that we compromise on quality,” added Chris.
A good gage of any company’s performance is the loyalty of its staff and this is another area where Estate Sawmills stands out.
Leanne added: “We now have 24 employees, almost double the number of three years ago. One of our staff, Keith Slaughter, has been with the company since its inception and we have another, Steve Lister, who has just celebrated 25 years of service.
“We are a flexible and agile operation with most of our fully trained staff able to work within any area of the business. Everyone can fill in as needed and this only increases our efficiency. We’re a happy workforce who are all pulling in the same direction.”
Estate Sawmills is also building a visible presence within the community with a stand sponsorship deal due to commence with neighbours Bradford City AFC and an unswerving commitment to organisations such as One in a Million, a Bradford charity that engages with children and young people through sports, arts and enterprise.
“It’s important that we play our part in supporting the vibrant communities around us and we’ll continue to go the extra mile in helping worthy causes,” enthused Chris. The company has a six strong fleet of delivery vehicles heading out to every corner of Yorkshire and Lancashire in order to service its customer base. Over 300 separate deliveries are made in a typical week.
The final word belongs to Chris: “We’ve come a long way in the last three years thanks to a lot of hard work and significant levels of investment. We are heading in the right direction and have substantially progressed from those initial fraught days at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have ambitious expansion plans. We aim to grow carefully and intelligently but a real, firm focus on customer service will continue to be at the heart of everything we do. Those levels of trust matched by our reliability and cost effectiveness will hopefully stand us in good stead.”
Take a bow Estate Sawmills. This is one business that is reaping the dividends of enlightened management and a pioneering spirit thanks to the leadership of Chris and his team.
www.estatesawmills.com 01274 487882