4 generations in 100 years for local firm leading the way in staff and customer retention

It’s not often a business from Northamptonshire celebrates its centenary, but 2019 is a very special year for family business, Jones Wholesale Business Store, which is headed by brothers Simon & Tom Allitt, who are the 4th generation to take ownership of the cash and carry business based on Heathfield Way in Northampton.

In 1919, after the First World War, Corporal Percy Lewis Jones left the Royal Artillery and established his own business called simply ‘PL Jones’. Percy rented a two shillings a week lock up and drawing from his experience gained before the war in the drapery and haberdashery trade he began delivering goods on his bike in and around Northampton.

By 1925, with the support of his wife Jessie and his daughter Elsie, he had expanded into a two storey premises in Woodford Street and purchased his first van. From here Percy and family would mix ingredients for products such as soap powders and medicines and by the 1930s chemist’s sundries and hardware lines were added to the range.

From there it was a steady development and in 1948 the company became P.L Jones Ltd. In 1957 the company bought a larger premises in Garfield Street from a local sweet manufacturer who coincidentally were also called Jones. The manufacture of sweets continued for a short while but the decision to stop a number of years after moving in was taken, in order to focus on other areas.

Following visits in the 1960s to the United States and to sites in the UK, it was decided by Sam Allitt, Elsies husband, who was now running the company, that the future lay in cash and carry and in 1968 deliveries were ceased as the business became 100% Cash and Carry. Five years later the business became the part­nership ‘Jones Wholesale Cash and Carry’ and in 1982 moved to a 35,000sqft warehouse at its current site in Heathfield Way.

Tom Allitt said; “Jones Wholesale Business Store is a fourth generation family business and we are very proud of our heritage and humble beginnings.”

100 years on, Jones Wholesale Business Store is still a family run wholesale cash and carry. With approximately 18,000 lines in stock, they have everything a shop or business needs.

One of the many reasons behind the success of Jones Wholesale is the personal care and attention to their customers. Not only do they retain clients for many years through excellent service, product range, and great value. They also have excellent staff retention, no better example of this being Colin Wright who has been with the company for a staggering 60 years this year. Simon added; “We are very proud of our staff, many of whom have been with us for decades and quite often their children join the company too. We have many long-standing customers and suppliers as well who recall the days of my parents David and Lesley as well as my grandfather Sam and grandmother. We even have suppliers whose fathers used to call on us. It truly is a family business in many different ways and we hope to maintain that tradition for generations to come.”

The centenary year of celebrations will include a variety of exciting offers and events for customers and suppliers. Preparations are under­way for a trade event in the summer. Grace Allitt, Marketing Manager,added; “We’re really looking forward to the trade event. We’ve contacted suppli­ers who are all keen to get involved and support, which means our customers will benefit as a direct result. It’s an opportunity for us to celebrate with suppliers, customers and staff.”

For more information about Jones Wholesale, or to register for free please visit; www.joneswholesale.co.uk where the registration team will get in touch, alternatively call 01604 756737. Jones Wholesale, they are open 7 days a week at Heathfield Way, Kings Heath, Northampton, NN5 7QY.