SBS Peterborough – 20 years on

In 2004, Smith Brothers Stores acquired Apex Tubes and Valves Ltd who became SBS Peterborough, the third branch to join the Smith Brothers network. This was a significant milestone for the business as it kickstarted a campaign that would see the business expand nationwide to 20 branches over the next two decades.

Expansion into Peterborough could not have been achieved without our parent company Smith Brothers (Leicester) Ltd’s financial acumen. That year, SBL returned nearly £1.7 million in profits before tax, of which £700,000 was made from trading and almost £1 million from other investments. It also held around £15 million in cash and assets.

Apex Tubes and Valves Ltd had a similar business model to Smith Brothers, but on a smaller scale. Peter Johnson, who owned Apex had been discussing a potential acquisition by Smith Brothers, however it was not until 2004, when Peter Johnson decided to retire, that a deal was agreed. Two years later, the branch was rebranded from Apex Tubes and Valves Limited to SBS Peterborough, to which it is known as today.

Employee retention

As part of the acquisition, SBS retained all Apex’s staff members and both Steve Smith (Managing Director) and Jeff Robertshaw (retired joint Managing Director) held meetings with the staff – ensuring clear transparency during the handover. This is also when key long-serving SBS staff members Brian Rumbelow and Jeanette Clifton joined the business.

Brian Rumbelow had been with Apex Ltd since 1989 and was Branch Manager at the time of the acquisition. He worked tirelessly during his tenure to develop the branch, its staff and its customer base, before retiring in 2021.

Jeanette Clifton in 2004, a mum with a young son at the time, was impressed by Smith Brothers’ willingness to be flexible over her working hours, which was uncommon at the time. Within a year, Jeanette was invited to run the credit control function of SBS Peterborough and later took over as Credit Control Manager for the whole business.

SBS Peterborough – Today

Peterborough continues to operate from their 11,000 sq. ft. unit on Epson industrial estate on the outskirts of Peterborough, which is located near junction seven on the Frank Perkins Parkway (A1139). This road intersects with the A47, the A15 and the A1260.

Throughout the years, SBS Peterborough has received continued investment, including the renovation of their trade counter and the installation off additional mezzanine flooring to increase their operational capacity. By maintaining excellent standards and abiding by the SBS promise of Staff, Stock and Service, the branch continues to grow year on year.

Today, SBS Peterborough is managed by Bradley Woodman, who became Branch Manager in 2022 following Brian Rumbelow’s retirement. Bradley had previously worked in Internal Sales for 12 years, where he honed his knowledge and skills whilst building relationships with both staff members and customers. Bradley has picked up where Brian left off and the future is in safe hands as evident in Peterborough’s 12.88% turnover increase versus the previous trading year.