A Trade Only Life

The Big Move 4 – Live Free or Move Hard

What is a Muffin?
A question that has plagued humanity for centuries, and the current big discussion making it around the Williams Manchester facility. When I was down south, we would have chocolate chip or blueberries on a muffin. It’s a kind of cake, right?
Wrong. Up north I’ve been informed that muffins are the what you put sausage or bacon in. A roll or bap, I can understand. A cob even, if you’re from the midlands. The non-acceptance and confusion of this food vocabulary has painted me out as a target to the lads in the branch here. I think it’s still a cake.

Image result for muffin
In other news, we’ve just had our new computer system installed and the team have been learning it back-to-front tirelessly to ensure we’re able to hit the ground running and offer the fastest and most efficient service in the area from our grand launch on the 26th of June. You might have even heard from us recently too as we’ve been busy calling everyone to let them know about our huge launch event and to try and entice you all down with some exclusive offers. Pop in for a beer and some food on the house and come see our new home and meet the team! We’ll even have our friends from central support in Fareham coming up for a visit.
It’s all really starting to take shape now. Everyone is working so hard to transform our empty unit into a must-see warehouse with new racking being assembled and fresh stock arriving all the time. Even as I write this, the legendary Williams coffee machine is being installed so we can work even faster. I can’t stress this enough; if you’re passing by, stop in and grab one. It’s honestly the best free coffee you’ll get your hands on. You can even pick a side on the muffin debate whilst I show you what we have and what’s to come.


It’s still definitely a cake though.


Meet Richard!

Meet Richard Crump,

He’s the new Trade Counter Manager for our upcoming huuuuuge Manchestricharder branch. The branch will be opening on the 27th of June – not long now – with a *bit* of a party in the planning…(Watch this space).

If he seems like a familiar face, Richard has a great range of experience, from self-employed plumbing and heating contracting to site inspector, to contracts Manager. And now one of the kick ass Williams team!

He’ll be responsible for delivering our now legendary Williams service. We pride ourselves on always striving for Best Service, and we’ll not be skimping at our Manchester branch. We’ve got many years of plumbing, heating and merchant experience behind our counters, plus the Williams ‘get it right’ attitude and some awesome free coffee, but perhaps most importantly, we know that our independent business keeps YOUR independent business going.

Commercial Team #bestcompanies

Here are a few more of the teams behind our people power:



Our Commercial team are always working to try to get you the best products at the best prices (When they’re not growing their beards).




Our existing branches train up our new teams so they know exactly what kind of standard of service is expected of them. They also show them how to make a bloody good cup of coffee…





The team at Central Support in Fareham, Hampshire, make sure everything is running smoothly from down south, shooting stock (and biscuits) out to our branches.



Doggos!….urm, everyone loves a dog?

The Big Move 3 – Move Hard with a Vengeance

Starring Tom ‘The B’ Bird

Managing to break my travel case at 4am wasn’t the best start to my trip back down South to see the Williams family. In the end, digging around in the attic amongst the unemptied moving boxes to find a spare was the only solution much Manchesterblog3to the annoyance of the family trying to sleep.

I was off to meet the Manchester team at the airport for a flight back to introduce them to the Central Support team down in Fareham, Hampshire. I’m treating them to a week’s course in Williams culture – Or, “How we do things round here”.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, learning how to provide the best products at the best price. They’ll be visiting some of the outstanding branches around the South to get some hands-on experience ready for the Big Opening (STAY TUNED!).
I’m so glad to have such an enthusiastic team. We can’t wait to get cracking up at our enormous Mamanchesterblog3cnchester facility and to meet you all too.

Speaking of which, the facility has been coming along nicely. While I was moving house and shifting hundreds of boxes and the family, Dan, Steve, Paul and Ryan have been busy assembling the pallet racking. The builders have been in and sorted the Mezzanine and the office space. It’s really starting to take shape and it looks utterly fantastic. It really shows what a hard working and organised team can achieve in two weeks – imagine what we can do with a year!
Anyway, it’s been much busier there than at my new house. The boxes are nearly all away now and the dining room has been painted a magnolia colour – not too exciting admittedly, but much better than the rather… um… ‘vibrant’ tango orange it used to be.

So the Williams train rolls on, a very exciting time with so much more to come. I’ve been having a brilliant time so far, the family are loving the north and opening day edges ever closer. Roll on June – Williams & Co is coming!!!!


And the location is….


We might have to pull out of the move.

… Is not what you want to hear when you are so close to uprooting your life and moving 360 miles north. This is what I was told by our estate agents regarding the sale of our house on my final drive up to Manchester.
Thankfully it seemed to be just a storm in a teacup. Keys were received and we’re ready to move in. No turning back now. It’s said that a new house is up there with death and divorce for causing stress, and I think that might be right as I’ve definitely gained a few more grey hairs in my beard in the past few weeks! All the same, I’m very pleased to announce that our new location will be –

1  Satellite Park



M24 1RU
It’s not all go for me though; a lot has gone on in the Williams & Co world too. We had a staggering response to our adverts and we now have some key players in place for the Manchester facility.


Dave enjoying some space!

Richard, our new trade sales manager has been an installer for several years himself among many other sales roles and it instantly struck me how alike our backgrounds are. He comes with a wealth of experience and local knowledge and embodies the excellent customer experience that Williams & Co offer.
I’m not the only one moving up from the southern Williams & Co family though. Barry, our warehouse supervisor has vast experience in his field and knows the way we like things done. He will be making sure our stock always stays full and at the best prices on the market.


We’ll have over 17,000 square foot of warehouse space – when the lorry’s gone!

Filling up the other roles in the Warehouse, Trade Counter and Drivers has never been so easy with so many people talented and enthusiastic candidates applying to join our fledgling facility in the North. In the coming weeks I’ll be saying my goodbyes to my friends and family in the south and hopefully making many more new friends too.
Anyway, I’m off to take another long trip up the motorway to go and see if the electricians have finished installing our lights, cables and most importantly, the coffee machine. Watch this space because next time you hear from me, I’ll be learning how to become a fully-fledged Mancunian!

Tom Bird


Our website

The Big Move

When Ray, the MD sat down with me and proposed the idea of a Manchester facility, I left the office straight away and phoned Mrs Bird – She’s the main boss after all.

You might be thinking this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, except from the fact I live in Kent, which if you know your geography is quite far from the North of England where I would be hoping to uproot my family to live.

So, I arranged an interview at the most upmarket of establishments: The Gravesend Harvester restaurant. I sat down and pitched the opportunity to the toughest clients I’ve had in a while – My own family. They realised the opportunity was one for us all rather than just for me and by the end of the meal we had all reached an agreement that we were going to embrace the chance and move to Manchester. Obviously, to make sure the deal went smoothly the boys were allowed extra dessert – they drive a hard bargain but after all fair is fair.

The next day I approached Ray and with a big handshake I accepted his proposal to head up the newest facility in the Williams & Co family. I knew this was just the start and the hard work was yet to come – We’d need new premises to store stock, a new trade counter to sell stock and importantly for me, a new house to keep the family!


The new Manchester branch

The next few weeks were a blur as it was all systems go in the office. Bouncing between Manchester and Kent, we ended up viewing 15 houses of various shapes, sizes and locations. It turned out we picked the first house we viewed.. but like Mrs Bird said to me at the time, we needed to see the other 14 to make sure that this was the right house for us.

I understand that this will be our introduction to a lot of you – Who are Willliams & Co Trade Only plumbing and heating supplies and why should you care? Well it’s simple. We’re a Plumbing and heating supply firm. We sell only to trade customers and we offer the best products at the best price.

As someone who used to be a heating engineer a decade before joining Williams & Co, I would have jumped at the chance to use us. We offer one fixed price – the best price we can – across the board. With competitors you might find a lot of different prices or haggling involved which outside a market just isn’t professional or fair on the trader. Also, how many times have you been in a rush, headed to your local trade store, only to be stuck behind ‘Mr Amateur’ with their carrier bag full of bits? This isn’t a supermarket, we’re professionals!

I decided on a career change later down the line because I felt that my experience on the other side of the counter gave me a valuable look at what people who made up the trade wanted. I was bought up with “Treat others how you want to be treated” and this is one of the reasons I joined Williams & Co in the first place –  they th


The best coffee in the country?

ink like me. I want to be able to get the parts I want quickly, at a clear and fair price, have a laugh and head off on my way. You’re even welcome to stop anytime for some of the best (free!) coffee that I’ve had at any place I’ve worked.

So what’s happening next?

We’ve picked up the keys to our facility and we’re looking to hire the best team of staff that the North has to offer. We’re installing a huge mezzanine floor, and the racking will follow shortly. We’ll start moving stock in the next few weeks and the whole place will be ready to roll by late June 2018.

The Family Bird will soon be on our way to Manchester too, the next part of our adventure. Moving to a new house can be a bit of a pain, although, the kids are loving the fact they can make box forts so at least some of us are having fun.

There’s a lot to do both for my family and for Williams & Co yet, so I’ll be sharing our journey as we go.  I’m very excited about the prospect of moving and meeting new partners so drop by and experience the service we provide for yourself – you won’t be disappointed – and you never know, you might even get a bacon barm with your coffee.

Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of the location next week!

Tom Bird