Domestic Appliance Distributors (D.A.D) and Montpellier Appliances are celebrating a double win this year at the IER Awards, bringing home the Best Distributor Award and Duncan Williams bringing home the Best Company Representative Award.
For 29 years, the Innovative Electrical Retailing (IER) Awards has been the leading event for the recognition of excellence in the sector – honouring everything from exceptional products and business pioneers to high street heroes and customer service champions.
Adrian Gillman, Chairman at D.A.D, said: “After two very different years in the industry owing to the pandemic, we are absolutely delighted to be bringing home both awards.
“Both Duncan and the teams back in the office and on the road work tirelessly and this is a testament to their hard work and contribution. When the going got tough, as a company we pulled out all the stops for our customers, and it is wonderful to be recognised for that”.
D.A.D, based in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, are the largest distributors of domestic appliances in the UK, with a brand portfolio that includes Miele, Beko, Hotpoint, Montpellier, Iceking, Bertazzoni, Zanussi, AEG and Bosch to name just a few. Established in 1992, 2021 marks the eve of the company’s 30th anniversary next year.
Duncan Williams has been a member of the D.A.D and Montpellier family for eight years, moving into a Regional Sales Manager position in 2018. His independent electrical retailer base has more than doubled since then, with sales figures up by 30 per cent last year compared to 2019. Yet despite this growth, he maintains his area effectively, and consistently shows and demonstrates an exceptional awareness of his customer’s needs for service and help.
If you grew up within a 30-mile radius of Gloucester, the chances are that at some time over the last five decades, your family will have bought a fridge, oven or other domestic electrical appliance from John Gillman & Sons.
The company was friendly, reliable, had excellent service engineers and you could buy spare parts to keep an older machine going for longer. Fifty years on (the business is celebrating its half century this year), little has changed in that respect.
However, John Gillman and Sons is now more than its successful Gloucester-based retail showroom (now at St Oswald’s Road), fundamental though that remains to the business.
The Group is also the largest domestic appliance supplier in the UK, with a turnover in excess of £100 million, and owns a major e-commerce business for domestic electrical appliances which has its main distribution centre at Northway Trading Estate, Tewkesbury. in 2018, Domestic Appliances Online (D.A.D) distributed more than 400,000 appliances across the UK, including familiar brands such as Hoover, Miele, Zanussi, Bosch, Siemens, Beko, Hotpoint and a Montpellier, a brand owned by the Gillman family.
Montpellier is a separate business operating alongside DAD and John Gillman’s Electrical. Set up by the family, it designs and manufacturers ovens, fridges, washing machines and dishwashers. The business, which has only been selling its products for five years, has quickly grown to become a major supplier of kitchen equipment to housebuilders such as Bellway, Taylor Wimpey, Bovis, Redrow and M F Freeman.
Gillman’s Group Chairman is Adrian Gillman. He said: “We manufacture in Turkey and China, and also have product made in Lithuania. A good part of Montpellier’s business comes from housebuilders and universities, independent retailers, kitchen showrooms and multiples. The Montpellier brand is also sold in Costco and Dixons.”
The company remains competitive in a market where margins are tight. “We design and manufacture all the products in the Montpellier brand, and invest significantly in their research and development,” said Adrian. “We are the first to have a hang-on-the-wall drier. It’s not just about designing capability and reliability into a washing machine or fridge, it’s also about colours, time and energy-saving.”
A family business for 50 years
Originally a service and repair business established by John and Erika Gillman in 1969, the company expanded and diversified into national distribution, retail and domestic and commercial appliance servicing.
The company’s Group Chief Executive is Robert Gillman, who joined in 1969. He was followed by his sister Annabelle, who is now Group Company Secretary, and brother Adrian, who is now Group Chairman.
Tragedy hit the family business early. John Gillman died when his children were 25, 21 and 18 respectively.
By then all three siblings were working in the business. “I’d joined at 15, straight from school,” said Adrian. “I was learning the refrigeration side of the business and my older brother Robert worked on washing machine repairs and servicing.”
As the second generation grew in confidence, the business expanded, taking on the exclusive distribution of other brands. The business moved to larger premises, first on Bristol Road in Gloucester, then Madleaze Trading estate and Mill Place.
By 2009 it had outgrown all its sites and was hunting for larger premises. “I came upon the site at Northway, Tewkesbury,” said Adrian. “It had been a Summerfield cold store depot. We discussed it as a family and bought it outright.”
On January 2, 2010, after a major redevelopment of the site, Gillman’s staff transferred from Bristol Road.