Bence Builders Merchants marks 170th anniversary

Founded in 1854, George Bence & Sons Ltd has become one of the very few businesses in the world to make it to 170 years of business.

Cheltenham-based independent family-run builders merchant George Bence & Sons Ltd is celebrating its 170th anniversary.

The company was started in 1854, in the early Victorian Era, when deliveries were made with horse and cart from the central location of Cheltenham Spa town, where the headquarters is still located.

Since then, the company has grown to 150 staff, with eight branches that offer a range from mixed merchants to high end kitchen & bathroom showrooms, stand alone roofing, decorating and plumbing centres to a supply and fit doors & windows business along with a thriving online bathrooms company.

Bence is the largest independent supplier of building materials in the Cotswolds and hold a staff retention rate four times the national average.

Chris Bence, Group Chairman, said: “As a multi generation family business owner, I can look with much satisfaction at our company and family history and examine what we’ve done to stay relevant over the years. The business has survived, and since thrived, through world wars, pandemics and multiple recessions. I feel so honoured and content that I have played a part in our current history and do not doubt that we will make 200 years under the next generations.”

Group Managing Director Paul Bence added: “Our family business is continuing to be a never ending journey and one that is ever evolving. It is the accumulation of great effort day after day eventually developing longevity, which then very much is the becoming of our tradition.

"After 170 years we truly believe our customers are now increasingly aware of who they’re buying from and that they want to purchase from businesses that really care about their customers and their products. I feel that profit and sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive and the latter should always come before the former.

"Unashamedly whenever I can, I use our status as a sixth generation family run business to differentiate us from the competition. I am extremely proud to have been given the opportunity to drive our special business into an 18th decade, leading product diversification through are international multi award winning little old building materials firm from Cheltenham Spa.”

Bence’s have plans to open two branches in the coming period together with a £0.5 million renovation of its flagship kitchen & bathroom showroom Obsidian Interiors beginning in July.

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June 2024