50 successful Gloucestershire family businesses
While many successful family businesses in Gloucestershire carry their family name, there are plenty more that might surprise you.
In partnership with Optimising IT | optimisingit.co.uk
Optimising IT is an industry-leading managed IT support company based in Gloucester. Offering a full range of services to support SMEs, including cloud-based cyber security and one-off support packages, its team of experts deliver bespoke solutions for all.
Optimising IT has also just launched an innovative new scheme known as Climate Conscious IT, allowing customers to offset their carbon footprint as part of their IT support service. Successful family businesses in Gloucestershire come in many forms - from multi-generational companies trading globally to kitchen table entrepreneurs who have roped in their partners to help them cope with demand.
As part of our ongoing mission to celebrate Gloucestershire organisations of all shapes and sizes, we have partnered with Optimising IT to highlight 50 successful Gloucestershire family businesses - from the household brands to the ones you might not have heard of... yet.
1. Robert Welch, Chipping Campden
After leaving the Royal College of Art in 1955, Robert Welch began designing from the Old Silk Mill in Chipping Campden - just yards from where the studio shop opened in 1969 and still stands today. Credited with introducing stainless steel cutlery to the UK, Robert Welch Designs is now run by the founder's daughter Alice and son Rupert.
The siblings grew up with their father's designs and continue his legacy by applying the heritage in new ways.
2. Gillman's Appliance Specialists, Gloucester
Originally a service and repair company, Gillman's started life in Gloucester in 1969. Founded by John and Erika Patricia Gillman, the eldest of their three children, Robert, joined the company in 1970, followed by his sister Annabelle and brother Adrian.
It now employs over 150 people across its retail showrooms in Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye, as well as its warehouse and distribution centre in Tewkesbury.
3. KW Bell Group Ltd, Cinderford
Keith William Bell has come a long way since starting out in the building trade as a bricklayer, setting up his own company back in 1965 and growing KW Bell Group Ltd into one of the largest businesses in the Forest of Dean - helped along the way by his brothers John and Colin, sister Jean, as well as his sons and other extended family members. Based in Cinderford, KW Bell Group Ltd (incorporating Bell Homes, Bell Plant, Bell Contracting and Bell Partnerships) employs some 500 people and turns over GBP50 million annually.
Former software developer Daniel O'Neill started ProCook - the first company to sell cookware sets by mail order - from his kitchen table in Gloucester in 1996. Now the number one supplier of cookware and kitchenware in the UK, the company has stores across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and continues to be run by Daniel, his wife and his brother. In 2021, ProCook said its turnover had passed GBP53.5 million.
SLG Beauty, Cheltenham
Entrepreneur Graham Dunkley launched SLG in 1985, starting out by manufacturing some innovative make-up applicators that his wife Bobbie had discovered on their travels. Graham would go on to invent the original self-tanning mitt before their son, Miles Dunkley, joined the business, which now turns over some GBP30 million annually and produces cosmetic ranges for the likes of Superdry, Little Mix and Zoella, as well as creating its own.
6. The Markey Group, Gloucester
Based in Gloucester, what started life in 1963 as Brendan Markey's business Markey Builders has since expanded into The Markey Group.
Run by his sons, Tony and Paul Markey, the long-established Gloucester family business covers multiple property development services, including Premiere Kitchens, Park View care home and Student Digs - Gloucestershire's largest independent provider of student accommodation.
7. C.F.Roberts, Cheltenham
With its head office in Cheltenham, C.F.Roberts was started by Cyril Roberts in 1935 as an electricians and electrical retailers. With Cyril's son Michael Roberts now group chairman, the business is a major force in the construction industry, counting over 250 staff.
Local projects have included working on Cheltenham College, the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham Racecourse and St. James's Place in Cirencester.
8. Lanes Health, Gloucester
Founded by Gilbert Lane from Newent in 1930, Lanes Health makes medicines and health supplements such as Olbas Oil, ProPlus and Kalms from its factory in Longlevens.
While Gilbert's son Roger helped develop the herbal medicines that form the basis of its range today, the company is still family-run, and Gilbert's granddaughter Janet Groves is chairman, while his great grandchildren Jonathan Groves, Robin Sissons and Amy Power all also have an active role to play in the Gloucester company.
9. Joedan Group, Tewkesbury
Gloucestershire headquartered Joedan is one of the UK's top five suppliers of aluminium-related products. Founded by John and Nicky Purcaro in 1985, it was named for their children, Joseph and Daniella.
The couple initially worked out of their garage, but today the company has around 190 people working for it, including several generations of the same family. The business specialises in home and commercial improvements and trade supply.
10. Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham
Gloucestershire's only Michelin-Starred restaurant, Le Champignon Sauvage was opened in 1987 by husband-and-wife David and Helen Everitt-Matthias.
According to its entry in the Michelin Guide 'desserts are a highlight and the set priced menu is great value', with David creating seasonal French-inspired dishes using local ingredients and Helen responsible for front of house.
11. International Plywood Ltd, Gloucester
Importing plywood and panel products since 1981, International Plywood was founded by former wood-cutting machinist David Attwood, and in the space of 40 years has grown to become one of the largest independent importers in the business. Today, the Gloucester-based business is largely run by his two sons, with Ian Attwood now the MD and Robert Attwood looking after logistics, while turnover in 2020 exceeded GBP150 million.
E G Carter & Co Ltd, Gloucester
Based in Gloucester, EG Carter is a family-owned construction company operating across the south west. Founded by Edward George (George) Carter in 1945, the business has grown to over 200 staff. George originally worked alongside his brother Harold, until they were joined by George's eldest son, Brian, in 1957.
The fourth generation, Joshua and Sam Carter, became joint managing directors in January 2022.
13. Watts of Lydney Group
Based in Lydney, the Watts Group embraces two manufacturing businesses (Watts Urethane Products, Plysolene); a commercial vehicle dealer (Watts Truck and Van); and a property business (Althorpe Properties) - making the company a major employer in the area. Chairman of the Watts Group, John Thurston, is the great-great grandson of Josiah Watts who founded the original company, J.S.
Watts & Son, while director Piers Thurston is John's son.
14. Smith's, Gloucester
When Alan Smith, managing director of one of Gloucestershire's largest businesses
started out in 1982, he had just one machine to his name and was the only operator. Today, Smith's is one of Gloucestershire's largest businesses with two generations actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company offering a complete service to the construction industry, from construction to demolition, via skip hire and asbestos removal.
In May 2022, Smith's acquired another well-known local family business, Ermin Plant (Hire and Services) Ltd.
15. Cullimore Group, Gloucester
When Moreton C. Cullimore moved to Lypiatt in the 1920s, he was one of the first in the local farming community to invest in motorised transport.
Inundated with requests for help conveying livestock and supplies, he set himself up as a haulier. Some 95 years later, the founder's grandson, Moreton F. Cullimore, is managing director of the company, covering Cullimore's Mix Ltd (concrete), Moreton Cullimore and Son Ltd (lorries) and Moreton C Cullimore Gravels Ltd.
Warners Motor Group, Tewkesbury
Brothers Cecil and Harold Warner set up Warners Cars in 1920. At first, the business only served the farming community, but growth was rapid and the business soon encompassed car repairs, petrol supplies and bus services. The Warners of today began to take shape in 1968 when Michael Warner, grandson of Harold, joined the business.
Moving from Twyning to Tewkesbury has helped it grow into the county's leading motor group.
17. Hewer Facilities Management, Gloucester
Established over 40 years ago, Hewer FM is one of Gloucestershire's biggest family businesses - and one of the region's leading building services, installation and maintenance providers, employing well over 100 staff. Started in 1965 by one man with a van, the firm now has a turnover of GBP15 million.
18. Cleeveley Motors Ltd, Cheltenham
Established in 1962, Cleeveley Motors Ltd was created by John Cleevely, an engineer who started out repairing vehicles for friends, neighbours and local businesses, gradually expanding his workshop with the help of his brothers. After handing the company down to
his two sons, Alan and Shaun, Cleeveley Motors Ltd has come to be run by Shaun's eldest son, Matt.
In 2018, Matt and his wife Claire added Cleevely Electric Vehicles to the portfolio, building the South West's number one used EV sales and servicing centre.
19. Kitchen Garden Foods, Stroud
Founded at Barbara Moinet's kitchen table in 1989, Stroud-based Kitchen Garden Foods is now run by the second generation, with James Moinet and James Horwood at the helm. As well as winning 100 awards and counting for its products, the company also makes artisan chutneys, pickles, sauces, jams and marmalades for brands other than its own label, including some with royal warrants!
Cotswold Farm Park, Cheltenham
When Cotswold Farm Park first opened in 1971, it was the first of its kind in the world. Founder Joe Henson planned to help ensure rare breeds' survival by charging admission, while his wife Gill served drinks from a mobile caravan and their four children all helped out. Among them was Adam Henson, who not only took over the running of his father's farm in 1999, as well as presenting the weekly "Adam's Farm" section on BBC One's Countryfile.
Walter Bull & Son, Cirencester
Currently run by James John Gegg, the great great grandson of the eponymous Walter Bull, the jewellers has been in Cirencester since 1960, when his granddaughter Jean Gegg (nee Bull) moved it to the Cotswold market town from London. First established by the family in 1815, as well as selling modern jewellery and silver, Walter Bull & Son offers watch and clock repair, trophies for corporate events, bespoke jewellery design and valuations.
22. Mann Jewellers in Stroud, Cirencester
Starting off as watchmakers, Mann Jewellers is now an eighth-generation family business that has been buying and selling jewellery since 1741.
Brett Mann has managed the Stroud shop for over 30 years, while his daughter Sophie Mann has turned her hand to producing her own designs in gold and platinum, set with diamonds, emeralds and sapphires, as well as pearls and opals.
23. Truturn Precision Engineering, Stroud
Manufacturing precision machined parts, fabrications and mechanical assemblies, Stroud-based Truturn Precision Engineering was founded in 1985, when William (Bill) Peak Junior bought his father William Peak senior out of their company, W.R. Peak & Co. in Charfield, renaming it in the process.
When Bill died in 1994, his widow Anne Johnstrup took over and Truturn moved to larger premises in Stroud in 1997. Anne still owns the company today and in 2018, made the Top 100 Influential Women in the West for growing the business from GBP100k to GBP2.4m turnover.
24. Evans Jones, Cheltenham
Headquartered in Cheltenham and celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022, the independent firm of chartered surveyors and planning consultants serves the UK commercial and residential property sectors.
Among the clients for its services, which span building surveying, planning consultancy, project management and disabled access consultancy, are Cheltenham Ladies' College and Gloucestershire County Council. Founded in 1972 by Prys Jones and Eric Evans, David Jones (son of Prys) is now managing director.
25. Sibling Distillery, Cheltenham
Siblings Cecily, Clarice, Digby and Felix Elliott-Berry operate the aptly-named Sibling Distillery, one of the country's few fully functional small batch distilleries, right next door to their parents' brewery in Cheltenham.
Founded in 2014, its gins include seasonal specials like strawberry and black pepper for summer, with plenty of industry awards picked up too.
26. Leeways Packaging Services, Gloucester
Based in the heart of Gloucestershire, Leeways Packaging Services is one of the leading suppliers of thermoformed packaging solutions in the UK. Established by Roland Trevor Walding in 1971, it was then passed on to Anthony Walding.
Today, it is owned and run by his sons, Adam and Lee Walding. Focusing on providing solutions to the sustainability crisis faced by the plastics industry, the company specialises in thermoformed packaging solutions for cakes and biscuits, sweets and meat, convenience foods and soft fruit.
27. Geometric Manufacturing Limited, Tewkesbury
Pioneers in the deployment of Computer Aided Manufacturing techniques since 1986, Geometric Manufacturing Limited was founded by father and son Paul and Brian Wenham and occupies two sites in Tewkesbury.
Employing around 50 staff, the innovation-led manufacturing company has won awards for its consistent growth in recent years and still retains some of its customers from the very beginning, with its precision machined parts and rubber mouldings being used in everything from defence to robotics.
28. Janes Pantry, Gloucester
Starting life as a sandwich bar in Gloucester in 1971, Tony and Barbara Phillips named the business after their youngest daughter - and Janes Pantry remains a family run firm, and major city employer, to this day. It is responsible for some 100 staff, across 11 bakeries, with the Twigworth branch, which opened in February 2022, its biggest Gloucestershire venue yet.
George Bence & Sons Ltd, Cheltenham
Managing director Paul Bence is the son of chairman Chris Bence and the fifth generation to run Gloucestershire's leading independent builders' merchants. Established in 1854, the company prides itself on catering for everyone from DIY enthusiasts to national housebuilders and is now part of the George Bence Group, which has added Obsidian Interiors to its portfolio, showcasing 'the best in kitchens and bathrooms from the world's top manufacturers'.
30. Jelly Armchair, Cheltenham
Sisters Cat and Liz Faulkner run card company Jelly Armchair from Cheltenham.
Combining silly puns with hand-drawn illustrations, their greetings cards are now stocked by retailers like Waterstones, with Cat taking care of the creative side and Liz looking after the business admin. Founded in 2015, the siblings behind Jelly Armchair say they inherited their love of puns from their dad.
31. Authentic Bread, Longhope
Founders Alan and Jane Davis have gone from baking in the garage adjacent to the family home in 1995 to enjoying semi-retirement, leaving their offspring - including Alex, Emily and Sophie - to manage their award-winning artisan bakery in Longhope.
Hand kneading and baking hundreds of loaves every day, the company prides itself on using traditional methods and works with brands and retailers to develop and manufacture their own products.
32. Guardian Preservation Services, Cheltenham
With its head offices in Cheltenham, Guardian Preservation Services was founded by Chris Herbert back in 1977. His wife Jane soon joined him and later on, so did their surveyor son Tim and his wife Hannah.
The family-run company offers solutions and advice to remedy issues in properties with damp and timber. Over the course of surveying 8,000 properties in the space of 40 years, its surveying team has tripled in size.
33. Glevum Windows, Doors and Conservatories, Newnham
Set up by Gary Jones in 1984, Glevum Windows, Doors and Conservatories started life in Gloucester, before moving to purpose-built premises near Newnham.
Responsibility for the day-to-day running of what is the largest independent installer of conservatories in the South West was handed to Gary's sister, Sue Jones, in 2021. The company is now part of the Glevum Group, which also includes Glevum Design & Build, which supplies and installs windows, doors and conservatories to the new build industry, while Gary has stepped up as chairman of Glevum.
34. Severn & Wye Smokery, Westbury-on-Severn
Founded in 1989 by Richard and Shirley Cook, the Severn & Wye Smokery in Westbury-on-Severn is an award-winning business supplying smoked fish to royals, as well as the likes of Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.
Plans to become the UK's number one eel producer are also closer to fruition since permission was granted for the company to create an eel farm at Lydney Harbour now that Brexit prevents access to the EU market for eels.
35. Cotteswold Dairy, Tewkesbury
Who'd have thought that when 20-year-old Harry Workman began delivering milk door-to-door in 1938, his business would eventually become one of the largest independent family dairies in the Uk! With Cotteswold Dairy at its current site in Tewkesbury since 1969 and now employing both Harry's son Roger and grandson, George.
As well as milk in glass bottles, the dairy can also deliver essentials like eggs, bread, cheese and potatoes.
36. Printwaste Recycling and Shredding, Gloucester
When brothers Don and Geof Robins started Printwaste in 1983, recycling waste from local printers was their forte. Since then, the business has grown to offer a total waste management solution aimed at helping UK companies achieve zero to landfill status by converting 100 per cent of their waste into reusable products or resources.
At the last count, it was collecting 18 different materials from 3,500 customers across 4,500 sites.
37. Hayles Fruit Farm, Winchcombe
Originally planted by Lord Sudeley in 1880, Hayles Fruit Farm on the outskirts of Cheltenham has produced cider from the beginning and been farmed by the Harrell family since 1950. Now a third-generation family-owned business, its 134 acres of mixed fruit offers pick your own from May to October, while the campsite, fishing, farm shop, teashop and nature trail help the farm to flourish all year round.
Cattle Country Farm Park, Berkeley
Cattle Country Farm Park opened in 1992 when Tony and Sue Cullimore, the owners of Berkeley Heath Farm in Berkeley were looking for ways to diversify their farming business and decided to open their farm to the public to showcase rare cattle breeds. Cattle Country has grown into one of the best family attractions in the area, with their children and grandchildren now working on the farm too.
39. Completely Motoring, Staverton
Started in 2009 by Rob Ayland and now run by Rob and his sons, Completely Motoring is the cornerstone of the Completely Motoring Group, which includes Completely Motorbikes and Completely Yamaha.
Based at Staverton in Gloucestershire, the family business has locations across the county and beyond, offering one of the largest stocks of new and used motorbikes in the UK, not to mention upwards of 250 new and used cars.
40. Dunkertons Cider, Cheltenham
In 1980, Susie and Ivor Dunkerton struck upon the idea of making organic ciders and perry. After passing the business to their son, Julian (of Superdry fame) in 2014, production moved from Herefordshire to the outskirts of Cheltenham, with the state-of-the-art cidery at Dowdeswell Park offering tours and masterclasses.
Stewart Golf, Gloucester
Based in Quedgeley, Stewart Golf was founded by Roy Stewart, after the retired engineer took up golf in the 80s. Convinced he could improve the way that clubs were carried around the course, he teamed up with son, Ross, and grandson, Mark (now CEO of Stewart Golf) to create the first trolley developed specifically for remote control. The X1 Remote launched in 2003 and exceeded all sales expectations, with the company's hand-built trolleys now sent all over the world.
Badham Pharmacy, Cheltenham
Branches of Badham's Pharmacy can be found across Gloucestershire, offshoots of the original shop that Richard Badham opened in Cheltenham in 1940. As well as dispensing prescriptions, its services include diabetes testing and health MOTs. Now run by five members of the Badham family, including Peter, Lin, Charles, Helen and Steve, the company today counts 23 branches and getting on for 200 employees.
Creed Foodservice Ltd, Cheltenham
Creed's journey to award-winning UK food wholesaler began in the 70s, when Terry Creed and Reg Pitt opened the first Linbar discount grocers in Cheltenham (named for their wives, Barbara and Linda). After moving to larger premises in Tewkesbury in the 80s, four more branches followed before the chain was sold to the Co-Op and Creed Wholesale Catering Supplies Ltd was launched, which Terry and Barbara's son Chris took on. Creed's turnover has since grown from GBP8M to over GBP56M.
The same family has also managed Brickhampton golf complex between Cheltenham and Gloucester for almost 30 years.
44. Freemans Events Partners, Gloucester
Since Stephen Freeman senior started out with a single fish and chip van, the company he founded in 1975 has grown into a multi-service event partner, delivering food and drink to eventgoers for global brands at the biggest venues in the UK and Europe. Freemans Events Partners moved to new headquarters in Gloucester in 2005 and with help from Stephen Freeman junior and his brother John, now caters for over 15 million people at over 400 events.
Giffords Circus, Stroud
Started by Nell Gifford in 2000 with the help of her husband Toti, the circus company based at Fennells Farm in Stroud performs around the south west and features regular appearances from the couple's twins Red and Cecil, born in 2010. Nell's niece and fellow circus artist Lil Rice stepped into the role of producer after Nell sadly passed away in 2019, while Nell's sister Emma Bridgewater continues to create the Giffords souvenir mugs.
46. Danter's Funfair, Gloucester
Taking after her great grandfather Percy Cole, Maxine Danter runs Gloucester-based Danter's Funfair with husband Edward and is the fifth generation of her family to provide fairground rides throughout the west of England and beyond.
During the season, Danter's also supports a variety of charity and community initiatives, including an annual event where hundreds of children with special needs can enjoy free rides and candyfloss.
47. Gloucester Carpet Outlet, Gloucester
As family businesses go, you'd be hard-pressed to find another one quite like the Gloucester Carpet Outlet, established in 2013 and run by Daniel Leach and his brother-in-law business partner, Ben Byron. Helping them to keep the company turning over some GBP3 million annually are Dan's wife Nikki, Dan's brothers Ben, Josh and Rich, Dan's nephew Jack, Dan's dad Rich, as well as Ben's mum Anne and his cousin Nick!
Farmhouse Deli Ltd, Gloucester
It was 1969 when friends John Clingan and Derek Meadows began selling cooked meats, just across the street from where Farmhouse Deli HQ is located today, on Northgate Street in Gloucester. The business now has three locations, including one shop in Cheltenham and two in Gloucester, selling sandwiches, pies and pastries for the lunchtime crowd, alongside bacon and sausages, cooked meat and cheese. With Mr Clingan's children having grown up in the stores, many have gone on to work there, including Jenny and Rob who now run the business, which even employs some of the founder's grandchildren.
Based in Cheltenham, Commercial was founded by brother and sister Arthur and Simone Hindmarch, together with Arthur's university friend, Alastair de Q Adams. Now the largest independent business services company in the UK, it specialised in business stationery on launching back in 1991, but has since expanded into everything from office technology to interior design. Commercial recently appointed Simone's daughter, Liberty Mann, as the GBP70m organisation's very first artist in residence.
Celebrating its 15 year anniversary in July 2022, SoGlos is a family business, launched by husband-and-wife James Fyrne and Michelle Fyrne from a garage in Gloucester.
Now firmly established as Gloucestershire's leading media brand, SoGlos covers the hottest places to eat and drink, iconic sporting venues and independent schools, unmissable events and the most accessible business news in county.
Hosting the annual SGGLA lifestyle awards and SGGBA business awards too.
By Eleanor Fullalove
Thursday 05 May 2022