In 2017 Bonningtons celebrates 50 years of trading, during which time it has grown to become one of the UK’s largest importers of gardening, home and leisure products. With around 2,500 products warehoused in the UK, Bonningtons supplies a broad spectrum of businesses, from high street retail chains, garden centre groups and independent retailers right through to cash and carry wholesalers, large internet retailers, and trade professionals.
The family run company headed up by Managing Director, Ian Fisher, has built its reputation on “Simply Great Selling Products”, 100% focussed on offering the most competitively priced best-selling products in the market place, coupled with excellent stock availability and unbeatable levels of service. The 250,000 sq. feet warehouse in Nottingham has over 20,000 pallet spaces, meaning there is always a steady supply of stock that can be turned around the same day for next day delivery. The Nottingham Head Office also houses an 8,000 sq. feet show room, where all Bonningtons products are displayed, fully merchandised in a retail setting. Trade customers are welcome to visit the showroom, sample the products and meet the friendly sales team. Click here if you would like to arrange a visit.
In 2008 Bonningtons opened its own office in Ningbo, China, whose 26 staff are responsible for managing the complete supply chain. They ensure products meet specified quality standards and are shipped at the right time, whether into stock in the UK, or direct to the customer worldwide.
The New Bonningtons
Known primarily for their Kingfisher range of value home and garden products, the company underwent a major rebrand in 2016, launching 1000 new products and 6 premium brands, and in doing so, it changed the misconception that it is a small business selling only to discounters. That’s not to say Kingfisher is no more. The range continues to run alongside the new brands, so the company can continue to grow its customer base by offering a strong “good – better – best” hierarchy.
On the rebrand, Managing Director Ian Fisher says “Early in 2016 we were named as one of the UK’s 100 fastest growing SMEs, with turnover increasing by 60% in the past 3 years. We have done this by successfully identifying Simply Great Selling Products. The next stage in our development is to provide more quality brands and develop new customer channels – focussing additionally on garden centres. This is why we returned to Glee to launch our 2017 programme and will continue to source product that appeals to the higher end garden centre market. The rebrand has enabled us to develop new brands that complement the existing Kingisher ranges, and to build trade relationships with new customers and markets which had been previously inaccessible.”
It’s important that customers know that the rebrand represents more than just new logos and livery. The new Bonningtons permeates throughout the business, with a change in attitude from Director level downwards, and a new way of working, based around the company’s three core values, which are central to the success of Bonningtons. These core values are:
Quality. This is at the centre of the business – quality in products, service levels, sales and marketing and in business relationships with customers.
Integrity. This means doing the right thing for employees and customers. The company has a similar professonal approach to all business activity.
Trust. Bonningtons works hard to deliver on promises and put the necessary resources in place to make sure customers can rely on the company.
Throughout the major rebrand and rapid growth, the company’s mission has remained the same:
“To give our customers reliable and timely supply of high volume and margin generating product from friendly people working in an efficient organisation that puts the customer first.”
History of Bonningtons (1st generation)
Paul Fisher founded Bonningtons in 1967 with a cash sum f £200 and a telephone. The first premises was an old bakehouse in the village of Sutton Bonnington, Leicestershire and the first items Paul bought and sold were hose pipe and rubber sheeting. Not long afterwards and due to working 15 hours per day, 7 days per week, Paul was able to take on his first employee, who was to become the company’s Production Manager. Before long the company outgrew the Bakehouse and moved to an 8000 sq ft factory in the nearby village of Long Whatton.
In 1971 Bonningtons started to manufacture its own products to gain more control with price and demand. Thanks to Paul Fisher’s sheer hard work and determination, Bonningtons was soon able to buy local manufacturing company, Millwood Rubber. By 1979 the company was manufacturing 80% of the total products supplied, including mudflaps, rubber mouldings, pelmet sections and door seals.
After purchasing further machinery the company started to manufacture braided PVC tubing, garden hose,non-toxic clear hose and a variety of tubing. In 1980 Paul Fisher acquired a number of hose fittings and accessories which were a great addition to the garden hosepipe that the company already manufactured.
Before long Paul had enough products to exhibit at the NEC, Birmingham, and also to begin exporting into the European market.
History of Bonningtons (2nd generation)
In 2001 Paul’s son Ian joined the business and Bonningtons began importing products from China. During the first few years, new ranges of hose reel set and promotional cutting tools were introduced which were completely new to the market and an immediate huge commercial success. Subsequently new ranges of garden sundries, accessories, solar lighting, greenhouses and garden games were introduced, resulting in a rapid increase in turnover.
In 2007 bonningtons identified the need for a new range to address the seasonality of the busines, which resulted in the aquisition of a catering disposables company and the birth of Kingfisher Catering. Soon new ranges of heating, housewares and bird care were introduced too. These developments resulted in the turnover of the business growing from 1.4m in 2002 to 20 million in 2013.
The entire family continues to have a role within the business. The original founders, Paul and Marilyn Fisher, who are both semi retired, have a very keen interest in the development of the business, what the business stands for and how it will develop in the future.