28 Feb 1. Family
“Tradition is like a bow. The more we stretch the bowstring, the farther we can throw the arrows of modernity and innovation.”
– Giovanni Ferrero, third-generation CEO of Italian chocolate maker Ferrero International SA
Business comes in many forms; Sole Trader, Limited Company, Partnership or Corporation to mention just the common ones. There is also the Family Business which may have been in existence a long time but more importantly has been passed down through the generations to grow and develop and become what it is today. In days gone by a son was expected to follow his father through the same trade and take over when his father retired. Now with so many different opportunities and technological inventions sons have more choice outside the family business when choosing a career path so despite many & Sons being on the company name, in reality, the son may not exist.
As with any family, a business started in the last century will have developed and changed from the early, often humble beginnings to what we know today. Is it that ‘blood is thicker than water’ that keeps some industries growing and developing through good times and bad.
Like many parts of the country and particularly rural areas Gillingham is blessed with its fair share of family businesses many of whom are members of Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Trade.
Station Road Garage
Percy Osmond Baker originally started the garage in 1912 with a different format from the way things are today. Percy along with his trusted steed Toby would carry people and goods from the developing railway station. In 1920, as cars became mainstream the family diversified naturally into this new form of transport. When Percy’s grandson Nick and his wife Val retired in 2009 the company changed hands.
However, the story did not end at that point. Nick and Val’s daughter Debbie was already working with the company. The time is now right for Station Road Garage to be back in the hands of the original family and Nick has bought the company back. Debbie is now the fourth generation Baker and runs it alongside her childhood sweetheart Mick.
A long way from the pony and trap days of Percy, Debbie and Mick now offer all your vehicle service and maintenance needs including a change of tyre, wiper blade, light bulb, Class 4 MOT Testing or emergency battery. They also have the latest Zeus Intelligent Vehicle Diagnostic Technology to assist in fixing your car.
They can be contacted on 01747 822434, which like the family company has survived since the original number dating back to the time when phone numbers were just two digits 34.
Clifford and Muriel Shean started their electrical contracting business in 1972. With one Morris 1000 van and bags of enthusiasm, they set about developing their business within the Blackmore Vale and surrounding areas.
Over four decades on, the business has grown considerably, currently employing 4 fully qualified electricians and supporting numerous apprentices. Now managed by their youngest son Tom Shean with premises in Gillingham, the business has continued to grow, covering a large patch of the South West and supporting domestic and commercial customers. With hard work and dedication, Tom continues to build the business whilst maintaining reliability and upholding good relationships with local architects, builders, plumbers and other trades
Tom himself, has been working within the electrical industry for over 14 years and during that time he has trained to become a fully qualified electrical supervisor for inspection and testing, meeting the standards of the 18th edition wiring regulations, solar panel installation engineer and he holds a certified PAT Testing accreditation.
You can contact Tom or the team on 01747 822604 or Email: email@example.com
The company was set up by Chester Jefferies grandson of John Jefferies from Westbury in 1936. At the time John Jefferies was the largest Glovers in the UK and when they were bought out by Dent, Chester and his friend Gilbert Pearce set up their own business. They had to base themselves over 100 miles away from the original company so found premises in Slough.
Chester eventually retired and sold his side of the business to his friend and colleague Gilbert who by then had his two sons David and Jim working with them. They moved in 1963 down to Gillingham to be near Yeovil who at the time were the biggest tanners in Europe.
Jim retired and having no offspring in the business sold his side of the business to his brother David who by then had his two sons Mark and Greg working alongside him. The business continued to grow and develop links all over the world.
A case of history repeating itself for the third time as Mark is in the process of buying his brother Greg out and his son Shaun who is the 4th generation Pearce to be involved with the business learns the ropes.
A perfect example of a family business who employ 14 staff locally and they still pop over to Pittards of Yeovil to choose the perfect leather for each individual order. Chester Jefferies have an open-door policy, if you find the gates of the factory open during the week – pop in and have a feel of quality gloves. You may well bump into Mark or Shaun busy at their stations but they would love to show you around if they have time. You can also contact them on 01747 822629.
These are just a sample of the family-run industry in Gillingham. There are many others who continue to strive. Don’t let them be confined to the pages of history, we should support them and celebrate their continued existence.
“I don’t like the word ‘dynasty,’ but that’s what it is. It’s not just a business. There’s a lot going on in the background.”
– Jake Dyson, heir apparent to James Dyson,
Gillingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry are once again putting together a pull-out of members details for the April issues of Gillingham & Shaftesbury News and Gillingham and Shaftesbury Guide Please make sure that firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com have your correct details and logo to pass on.
Our next happy hour networking will be at the Wine Bar in Queen Street on Thursday 7 March from 6 pm kindly sponsored by TS Accounting.