Ipswich: H G Gladwell feed firm celebrates centenary and double digit growth
AN animal feed firm is enjoying double figure growth as it celebrates its centenary year.
H G Gladwell & Sons at Copdock Mill, Ipswich, is a fourth generation family feed mill business now run by Simon Gladwell, the current managing director.
The �23million annual turnover firm, which employs 103 staff, makes and sells feed, mainly for pets and wild birds and, as well as its Copdock shop, has a chain of retail stores across Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Peterborough, Faversham in Kent and Rayleigh in Essex.
It also sells its feed and seed mixes to other retailers, such as pet shops and farm shops and has a delivery fleet of 13 HGVs.
Simon’s father, Mark, is chairman and handed over the reins to Simon, who gave up a career as a doctor to take up the post, last year. To mark the centenary, the retail operation at Copdock, Copdock Country Store, is changing its name to Gladwells Pet and Country Store.
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Herbert George, Mark’s grandfather, started the business, which was a small mill catering to the farming community and made various feeds and flours.
Until about 20 years ago, it specialised in animal feeds, cereals and fertilisers to smallholders and farmers, but in the late 1970s started to supply the pet trade and since then demand for its products have soared. Marketing and business development manager Andy Morgan said the business had seen huge growth under the management of Mark Gladwell.
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“Wild bird feed is absolutely huge now,” he said.
In recent years, the firm has expanded with the help of two acquisitions - Clark Seeds in east London and C & A Gould in Northants. It now delivers about 100 pallets of its products a day to pet stores across southern and eastern England.
“We are growing. We are in double figure growth,” he said. “We do our job well. People like the fact they are dealing with a family firm and they can get hold of everyone from the managing director down to the lorry driver.
“The pet industry, I wouldn’t say it’s recession-proof, but I have been through one recession here and we do tend to weather recession better than most industries.”