Darlaston Builders Merchants

Recession proved blessing in disguise for Darlaston

Salepoint helped the move into retail trade after the supplier to the construction industry was forced to look elsewhere for business

Carving out an impressive share of retail trade

Builders’ merchants were hit hard by the recession, but for one company, forced to look elsewhere for business, it proved a blessing in disguise.

Darlaston Builders Merchants, one of the Black Country’s largest suppliers, continues to provide heavy-side products such as engineering bricks, blocks and aggregates to the construction industry, but has now carved out an impressive share of retail trade through DIY shops too.

The company, founded in 1993, is highlighted by the Black Country Consortium as one of the region’s strategic companies that are vital for economic growth and reducing the large productivity gap with the national economy.

Customer-friendly shop within a warehouse

DBM called in specialist shopfitters Salepoint to completely refit their DIY shop in Darlaston in 1994. That early work helped introduce the company’s cream and brown branding, and transformed a builders’ yard by adding a new retail-friendly store, to capitalise on the growing DIY market. Salepoint produced a layout to give the shop broad appeal, supplying all the fittings in the company colours.

Director Steve Lalley called on their experience again after he secured a £2 million refinancing package that paved the way for expansion. Salepoint created a customer-friendly shop within the warehouse next to the brick yard. Again, the focus was to appeal to a different market and sales were good enough to convince Mr Lalley to continue the business plan. He continued expansion adding additional branches in and around the West Midlands – and Salepoint has helped in every case.

Retail sales alongside traditional business

The most recent opening was in West Bromwich. Again, there was a large yard, big enough to accommodate trade business, and a large shop to also accommodate the DIY side. Salepoint produced a computer-aided design and completely fitted out the store which has the company’s new logo and colour scheme. Sales have been good, attracting retail sales alongside traditional trade business.

Mr Lalley said: ‘We have transformed the company, broadened our appeal, and we are looking to expand again. When we started there were just two members of staff – now we employ over 65. We couldn’t have done it without Salepoint because they understand our needs so well.’

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