Strong partnership boosts East of England businesses
Since 2013 Fenn Wright, and independent business, Kent Blaxill, have built a partnership of trust and understanding since Fenn Wright’s management of the acquisition of a larger trade unit for the builders merchants in Ipswich. From there, Kent Blaxill which now has 15 branches across East Anglia and the Midlands, has undergone rapid expansion.
“As it happened, it was rather a fortuitous partnership,” said Simon Blaxill, managing director of the family run firm, Kent Blaxill, which celebrates its 180th trading anniversary next year. “We had just decided on a strategy to grow our business by three new branches a year.
“Fenn Wright were involved with our Ipswich move in 2013 and it just went from there. It’s grown into a relationship of trust and mutual understanding.”
Since the first business deal, Kent Blaxill, which supplies a range of building materials, has acquired eight further sites with the expert assistance of Fenn Wright and there are several new branches in the pipeline.
Fenn Wright’s first involvement with Kent Blaxill was the firm’s move from smaller premises in Ipswich to a more substantial purpose built unit in Trinity Street. At the time, John Ford, operations director at Kent Blaxill, described the process as a ‘breath of fresh air dealing with Fenn Wright’ with the team’s ‘professionalism and reassurance.’
Kent Blaxill and Fenn Wright have since worked together on the acquisition of properties in Fakenham in Norfolk, Saffron Walden and Chelmsford in Essex, Stamford in Lincolnshire and Market Harborough in Leicestershire. A new unit in Milton Keynes opened in October taking Kent Blaxill’s branches to 15 – with several others in larger regional towns under negotiation.
Alistair Mitchell, partner, commercial division at Fenn Wright said: “Over the years we have built a strong relationship with Kent Blaxill.
“We work well together – we understand Kent Blaxill’s business plan, know the type of premises the team require, in what location and with which neighbouring businesses. The profile and demographics have to be right.
“Kent Blaxill also has geographic targets which we work within to help identify properties. Very little happens in this market without us knowing about it.”
Once premises have been identified, Fenn Wright’s acquisition team handle the inspection of the property, negotiate the purchase or acquisition of the unit on a new lease, liaise with lawyers, planning consultants and architects and also communicate directly with the landlord’s advisors to ensure the transaction moves forward as quickly as possible.
The building services team can also assist with space planning and design, completing building surveys, schedules of conditions and project management of alterations and fit out.
Simon Blaxill, who is the sixth generation to be involved in the running of the business, added: “These services save us money and time.
“I trust Alistair will deliver on our development plans. We consider him one of our team. He has our interests at heart and knows our business plan. He is also very quick to respond. He knows the market well and is able to secure the best deal. I trust the knowledge of Alistair and his team – it makes things a lot simpler for me.”
Next year Kent Blaxill will celebrate 180 years of continuous trading since John Kent opened a shop in Colchester’s High Street next to Colchester Castle in 1838. John Kent’s daughter married into the Blaxill family and since then both families have been actively involved in managing the business through six generations.
If you are thinking about acquiring alternative or additional commercial premises and would like to arrange an initial meeting please get in touch!