Interactive Timeline

1st Generation
Walter Smith
Sydney Smith
2nd Generation
Sydney Smith
3rd Generation
John Smith
 Smith Brothers Stores has a long and cherished history dating back to the 19th Century. Below is only a brief insight to the key developments which has helped form the business it is today.
“The story starts back in 1897 with a certain Walter Smith…”

SBS History

The Story Begins
Walter Smith

Smith Brothers is established by founder Walter Smith.

The First Move
Aylestone Road

Smith Brothers move from Saffron Lane to Aylestone Road which was occupied up until 2016.

Limited Company
Centenary Certificate

Smith Brothers becomes a limited company.

Expanding product portfolio
Ventillation System

From this date, Walter Smith would use his entrepreneurial prowess to invest in, and expand Smith Brothers product portfolio, including dust extraction, fans and tooling.

First Testimonial
First testimonial - 1913

Our first ever recorded customer testimonial was in 1913 from a satisfied customer.

Becoming a family business
Sydney Smith

Sydney Smith, son of founder Walter, joins the business. The first steps of the company becoming a ‘family’ business.

Assisting with the war efforts
Air Raid Shelter business card

Smith Brothers assisted with the war efforts. The railings outside the Batten Street premises were scrapped to increase military steel supplies. The business also supplied air raid shelters for domestic and industrial use.

Postcodes introduced
Smith Brothers Batten Street

Postcodes were introduced and Sydney Smith gave the parent company the famous ‘wrong’ postcode of LE2 7PB. Wrong because it didn’t mirror the adjacent buildings, but instead his house located 900 yards away. The incorrect postcode stood the test of time up until 2019 when it changed to LE2 7QJ.

Expansion of Leicester
The Batten Street Premises in operation.

Smith Brothers expand Leicester by purchasing units on adjacent road, Batten Street.

Northampton – 2nd Branch
Northampton Branch

SBS decide to expand for the first time opening a branch in Northampton. The branch later relocated to the unit in the picture after the previous unit had history of flooding.

Old Computer

The company begin recording details on a computer system starting the move away from the paper-based routine.

Old SBS Logo Diamond up until 2012

Logo is redesigned to incorporate our yellow diamond which is still present today.

Acquisition of Peterborough – 3rd Branch

SBS completes the purchase of Apex Ltd in Peterborough giving better coverage with distribution available across the East of England.

Rebrand of Peterborough and opening of Oldham – 4th Branch

The previously acquired company Apex changes its name to SBS and joins the expanding branch network. SBS opens at Oldham servicing the Lancashire & North West area.

Leeds – 5th Branch
Leeds Unit

Shortly after the Oldham branch, SBS Leeds followed in 2007 taking the network of branches up to five.

Birmingham – 6th Branch and SBS now online
First SBS Website

SBS opens its 6th Branch based in Smethwick which is well placed to service the Birmingham & West Midlands region. 2008 also sees the launch of SBS on the web.

Rainham – 7th Branch and Leeds relocates
Old Thurrock Unit (3)

SBS open its 7th Branch, which is based in Thurrock and the Leeds branch relocates, moving to a brand new purpose built 22,000 sq ft unit.

Bristol – 8th branch
Leeds Solar Picture

SBS Bristol opens for business, which can service the South West. Leeds have six figure investment covering their roof in 200+ solar panels generating annual yields nearing 50,000 kWh.

Southampton – 9th branch
SBS Company Logo

Southampton becomes the most southern branch situated in Eastleigh. The new redesigned website is launched along with a new circular logo. Partnership with MEP (HireStation) is announced to assist customers with tool

Vehicles become FORS Accredited
Bronze Fors Accreditation

SBS transport becomes FORS accredited across the national network demonstrating the commitment to safety and the environment. Patented WRAS approved Aquatechnik multilayer system comes exclusively to SBS giving a great alternative to traditional steel or copper. Tool hire through HireStation can now be ordered online:

New I.T. system is launched

New I.T. system is launched to help with all aspects of the business from sales through to accounts. The move sets the next level of foundation and shows our desire to constantly adapt for the needs of our customers.

Heathrow, Cardiff and Merseyside – 10th, 11th & 12th branch
Defining the Business

New branches Heathrow, Cardiff & Merseyside open taking the expansion to 12 branches over two countries. SBS Leicester, Bristol and Head Office also relocate to larger and more modern premises. Smith Brothers brings Isotubi, 316L Stainless Press-Fit system to the UK up to 108mm.

FORS Accreditation gets upgraded
Silver FORS logo

SBS transport gets upgraded to the silver standard FORS accreditation. The hiab crane is improved on the HGV/LGV giving greater lifting capacity.

Newcastle – 13th Branch
Newcastle Unit

The expansion continues with an additional branch in Gateshead, Newcastle. Smith Brothers wins the coveted award of Wholsesaler/Distributor of the Year during the HVR Awards at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel.

Mr Monopoly Man Pose

SBS expands its sales force into Northern Ireland and relocations take place in Birmingham, Oldham and Thurrock to satisfy increased demand. SBS are included in The Sunday Times Top Track 250, the Leicester version of Monopoly and climbed to 51st place in the Top 200 Companies in Leicestershire.

Glasgow – 14th branch

Smith Brothers’ first Scottish branch opens in Glasgow in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and Southampton relocates to a modern 25,000 sq. ft. premises. SBS retains the HVR Wholesaler/Distributor of the Year award for the third year running and are also featured in the London Stock Exchange’s Top 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2020.

Sheffield and High Wycombe – 15th and 16th Branch
Tesla Cars Lined up outside Head Office

New trading locations open in Sheffield and High Wycombe. Smith Brothers was named in the East Midlands Top 500 companies and the Leading Lights 2021. The business also began its transition from disel cars to electric and hybrid.

125th Anniversary

Smith Brothers celebrated 125 years anniversary with origins dating back to 1897, when founder Walter Smith began to lay the foundations of what has become one of the largest independent merchants operating in the UK.

Cambridge – 17th Branch and online customer portal
Customer Portal

SBS Cambridge opens in January taking the total number of trading locations to 17. A newly developed online portal would allow existing customers to place orders 24/7, taking the SBS service to the next level.

Dundee, Exeter & Hull – 18th, 19th & 20th Branches
Dundee Outside

We expanded our branch network further with Dundee, Exeter, and Hull, bringing our total to 20. We launched our brand of products called ‘CORE’. We gained ISO 9001 accreditation in quality management systems and upgraded to the gold standard for FORS accreditation. The SBS Online Portal was awarded the Innovation Award at the Constructing Excellence Midlands ceremony.