Gloucestershire business Gillman’s celebrates its 50th anniversary
8th March 2019
The owners and staff members of family business Gillman's are proudly celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.
Originally a service and repair business established by John and Erika Gillman in 1969, the company has expanded and diversified into many sectors of the electrical and gas appliance industry.
This includes national distribution, retail and servicing of both domestic and commercial appliances.
With the third generation of the family now involved, Sarah, John, Richard and Lee, the company has its sights still firmly set on the future, with a commitment to provide consistent professional service to all their customers.
Group CEO Robert Gillman joined the company in 1970, closely mentored by his father.
He was followed by his sister Annabelle (group company secretary) and brother Adrian, who heads the Tewkesbury distribution operation of the group.
Gillman's grew from humble beginnings operating from a small shop in Ryecroft Street, Gloucester, expanding to its current premises in St Oswald's Road.
Mr Gillman said: "I began working alongside my father while still at school. We learned the trade 'parrot-fashion' in those days.
"I would dismantle a machine, taking out 90 wires and putting every one back from memory.
"These days our engineers are involved in laptop diagnostics and our training programme is comprehensive and essential."
Despite the changes in the mechanical side of the operation, Mr Gillman believes that the basics of good business never changed.
He said: "Gillman's is a one stop shop, specialising in the retail, domestic and commercial sector, offering personal service and excellent product knowledge for the appliances we supply.
"This includes renting, installing, servicing and even detergent dosing for commercial machines.
"We are very passionate about 'Gillman's the family business.' Many independent businesses are sadly disappearing from the high street.
"If you are supportive of a family business, then you can be sure you are going to experience a personal level of service every time.
"It isn't only the customers that are loyal to Gillman's, many of our staff members have worked for the company for a long time, which is testimony to the management style of the directors and the culture of our business."
While Hoover provided Gillman's with much of its work in the earlier days, the brand Zanussi was also the beginning of a new era, as the company was awarded the servicing contract for the three counties of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
This then evolved into work for other leading brands.
In 1977 Gillman's launched its first retail division, becoming distributors for Zanussi products, then partnering with other top brands such as Miele, LEC and Hotpoint.
Today Gillman's retail and service departments consist of 82 employees, and are part of the Gillman's group with a distribution division in Tewkesbury, giving a combined staff total of 220.
The company stocks a wide range of brands and is famous for its personal customer service and knowledge and extensive variety of appliances which includes washing machines, dishwashers, cookers, range cookers, fridges, freezers, fridge freezers, TVs, vacuum cleaners and small household appliances.
The company and its staff have won numerous national awards, but Mr Gillman never rests on their past successes.
"The secret of our success is providing good service and owning the problem. You have to be able to tackle issues head on and sort them out when necessary," Mr Gillman added.
"As long as we continue to focus on this ethos, I'm sure the business will be here for another 50 years."
"It's been an amazing journey for myself and the family, but we must thank our loyal, dedicated and professional staff for their fantastic contribution.
"All our staff are like family to us and this is truly a family business. And of course, to our wonderful customers across Gloucestershire - all I can say is a big 'thank you."
In special memory
A few days after the Gillman's group photograph was taken, Ian Olive was taken ill and sadly passed away.
Ian worked for Gillman's for over 38 years in its service department and had been a loyal and dedicated member of the team.
He was an excellent engineer, who loved nothing more than problem solving and fixing his customer's appliances.
Ian and his widow Jackie were together for over 40 years, they had three children and lived in Churchdown.
Mr Gillman said: "I had worked alongside Ian for nearly 40 years and I can honestly say he never had a cross word to say about anyone.
"He was a member of the Gillman family business and, without a shadow of a doubt, helped us build the company to become the success it is today.
"The company and all the staff will sincerely miss him and we are all very saddened by his loss and extremely grateful that we had the pleasure of knowing him"
Copyright 2019 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.