Bradfords Building Supplies has announced the retirement of its Business Development Director, Paul Carlisle, after 45 years of service at the company.

Carlisle’s first day at Bradfords was on 13 March 1978 as a trainee on the trade counter at the company's Ilminster branch. His career then progressed through the ranks of the firm untll he became Sales Director in 2019.

Carlisle has also played an active role in Bradfords’ ambitious apprenticeship programme, supporting the next generation to forge their careers in merchanting.

“It’s no exaggeration to describe Paul as an industry legend and he exemplifies the best of what a merchant can be,” said David Young, CEO at Bradfords.

“He’s always gone that extra mile for customers, looking for ways we can make our service even better, while doing his best to support and encourage those who are just starting out in our field. He’s a Bradfords family stalwart and we’d like to thank him wholeheartedly for all his years of service.”

Carlisle is among three generations of the Carlisle family that have been employed at Bradfords. His father, Peter Carlisle, worked for the company in the 1960s and the family lived in the cottage next to the head office in Yeovil. The cottage is still used by the company and Carlisle occasionally returns to his childhood home.

He said: “The builders’ merchant sector has changed dramatically in the years I’ve been at Bradfords, but it remains an exciting and dynamic industry and no two days have ever been the same! It’s always been interesting to hear about our customers’ latest projects and challenges and to have the support of a strong team as we do our best to make sure they have everything need to do their work.

“Being part of a long-established family firm like Bradfords Building Supplies has been an ideal setting in which to forge my career and I’m pleased to say the genuine sense of teamwork that pervades here is just as strong as it was in 1978.”

In his decades at the company, Carlisle has witnessed the rapid evolution of the builders merchants’ trade and cites the forklift among the most significant technological developments in that time, as well as the internet, which he credits for raising the ambitions of the self-build community.

In 1978, every branch used to sell coal, and products such as insulation blocks were unheard of. Carlisle has welcomed the increased emphasis on ethical and environmental considerations that Bradfords has championed in the industry over recent years.

During his time as Manager of the Taunton branch, he was responsible for employing Jo Love, the first woman to take on a sales office role in the business. Love progressed to become the first woman to take on further roles including commercial management for the Glastonbury and Sherborne branches. She is now part of the company’s Partnership Team.