Bradfords stays busy
16 June 2020
Bradfords Tool Hire, together with its parent builders’ merchant business Bradfords Building Supplies, decided to remain open throughout the lockdown. Its senior management team had planned early for several different contingencies as soon as Covid-19 was being talked about, and they wanted to support customers during the crisis.
“We are all getting used to different ways of working now,” Terry Heal, Managing Director of Bradfords Tool Hire told me. “We quickly ordered 55 hand washing stations and sanitising products for each of our outlets, and initially we offered a click-and-collect service for equipment. Later, when restrictions eased, we allowed customers to enter the depots with one-way visitor flow systems and other social distancing requirements.
“We put up Perspex screens at counters to protect our staff, issued PPE and I believe these measures will be part of the ‘new normal’ for some months to come.
“The hire industry will recover - it always does, but the world will be different when we come out the other side. We are already seeing other industries adopt new business models. Local bakers are now offering home deliveries and special offers for Father’s Day (on 21 June, this Sunday), and greengrocers have started supplying fresh fruit and vegetables to people’s doors.”
Terry lives on the Isle of Wight and he and his wife, Theresa, have used the government’s track-and-trace app which has been trialled on the island to control the spread of the virus. “We felt it was our duty to download it,” said Terry. “At first we wondered if we would be getting alerts constantly, but it just asks you how you are feeling and, if you say you have symptoms, you would be invited for a test.”
* Also, Terry told me that he will be retiring at the end of June. He will hand over to Keith Hallam who is currently Trading Director for Bradfords Tool Hire.
Terry has the rare distinction of having worked in hire for more than 50 years. He started his career at Uni-Rents in 1969, which became part of the merchant group Wolseley UK in 1973. He joined an independent hirer in 2009 and then Travis Perkins Hire in 2012, followed by Bradfords in 2015.
I wish Terry and his wife, Theresa - who also works for Bradfords, as Transport Manager - a very enjoyable retirement. Terry says that he’s particularly looking forward to restoring a couple of classic motor bikes, amongst other interests.