Family firm turning up the heat with new depot launch
A company which has been keeping homes warm in Cornwall for more than a century, is expanding its operations into Somerset.
Scorrier-based Mitchell and Webber has £500,000 investment plans for a new heating oil depot near Tiverton, in a move which will see it extend its reach as far as Taunton.
The move is be the most significant investment for the company, since it established a Devon base with a £350,000 Holsworthy depot in 2011.
Its expansion into Somerset will create five new jobs within the business, taking its total headcount to more than 70.
NEW FROM SYMPLY - a wet dog food in a tray freshly steamed with real meat and veg you can see minimum of 68% meat content up to 72% in the adult trays.
Terms: Come and try tray at introductory price of £1
Contact: 01271 440626
Valid until: Friday, January 31 2014
The company is also set to invest £400,000 in four new tankers for its 35-strong fleet of delivery vehicles, which will soon be covering an area of around 6,000 square kilometres.
As well as supply heating oil to homes in some of the remotest parts of the Westcountry, the business also maintains and services tanks and heating systems.
Its 25,000-strong customer base also includes the farming sector for fuels and lubricants, industrial clients and marine.
A family-run business, director John Weedon said that its ongoing success was down to good old-fashioned customer service.
"We treat people as names, not account numbers," he said "and if you call, it's not a matter of pushing one for this or that. You speak to someone – done and dusted – and if we say we are coming, we come.
"We've got to serve our customers. If a farmer calls last thing on Friday to say he needs a delivery; that could be his business out of action on the Saturday – so we will respond."
Mr Weedon who began his career in corporate banking, joined the family business in 2002. His brother, Robert is at the helm as its MD.
The pair took over the day-to-day running of the business from their father, Roy, and Ted Webber, the grandson of company co-founder Frederick Webber. Now in their 70s, both patriarchs play an active role still in the business, however.
Mitchell and Webber came into being in 1966, with the merger of two long-established Cornish businesses.
Webber's evolved from a packman's round selling lamp oil, which really began to gain ground in the 1920s, when the business struck an advertising deal with Palmolive. This supported the cost of getting their first motorised truck on the road.
Mitchell's grew from a smithy in Bridge near Redruth, which diversified into selling oil and machinery repairs.
"It has always been the company's ethos to re-invest and build a strong base," says Robert Weedon.
"This 'only have what you can afford' approach may be old fashioned, but it has meant that we are in a position to move forward."