Which? magazine revealed last month that its readers rate independent and local businesses over big chains when it comes to buying new bathrooms, and that trend seems to be showing in the sales figures of the independent businesses represented by The IPG, a leading group for independent plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists. Over half intend to recruit more staff in the coming year, and many are currently undertaking projects to expand their operations.
Based in Bournemouth, heating merchant Gasbits Ltd has recently opened a new branch in neighbouring New Milton. Gasbits director, Ross Pavey, said, “We have definitely benefited from being part of The IPG, as we have access to better deals with suppliers and contacts that go beyond our own networks.”
Another member, Ergonomic Designs, has opened a new store in Oundle, Peterborough, whilst Canterbury Plumbing Supplies has just finished building a fresh bathroom showroom in Eltham. H Lilley & Co has also completed the final touches on a new showroom.
John Hunter from Ergonomic Designs commented: “The IPG’s buying power and marketing support has already helped us grow since we joined, as evidenced by our new store. We’ve already started to see great interest from both industry professionals and the public.”
Fraser & Ellis, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year, has recently acquired Fulham Heating. Paul Fraser said: “Joining The IPG has been one of the best business decisions we’ve made since I took over the family company. Their ongoing support has helped us massively, particularly with the great deals they secure from suppliers.”
“Independent businesses are continuing to thrive, and The IPG members are no exception,” said The IPG’s Robin Beal. “Our members are becoming more prominent and successful in their local areas, as tradespeople and the public alike recognise their expert knowledge, excellent customer service and many other benefits they receive from choosing an independent over a national chain. The number of new stores, acquisitions and recruitment going ahead across our members is really promising to see; we’re excited to hear more news in the coming months.”
Founded in 2013, The IPG has already surpassed over 200 trading locations nationwide and currently works with many successful industry suppliers.