Tragedy struck the Leeds Lake Terrace Branch of leading national building materials and services company, Jewson, in the shape of a cowardly and devastating arson attack. Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident which was captured on CCTV cameras, leading to the apprehension, trial and imprisonment of the culprits.
Long-serving colleague and Branch Manager at the time, Phil Robinson, recalls his initial feelings of horror, anger and sadness. He says those emotions were subsequently replaced by hope, belief and pride in Jewson and his branch team who, “have endured initial hardship and uncertainty to turn a bad situation into a positive outcome!”
More than a third of the stock held at the branch was lost in the blaze. The remaining goods were shared between two neighbouring Jewson branches as were the personnel. Phil Robinson comments, “Sadly we had to split our workforce up in order to carry on servicing our customers, many of whom were very upset at the attack on what they saw as a much valued trading partner whom they had relied on over the years.”
From initially working in portacabins, to now operating from brand new premises at the same location, the team has certainly been on a journey together. Staffed by its friendly and knowledgeable crew, half of whom are women, the relaunched specialist distributor, Jewson Civils Frazer, now focuses on the supply of civils and utilities solutions to the building sector.
Jewson Civils Frazer Sales Director, Nick Boyle, said, “It truly is a tale of triumph over adversity. We value all our employees and trust them to do the right thing. But when something like this happens we are reminded of their outstanding professionalism and resilience.”
Phil Robinson adds with a smile, “It’s great that we’ve been back working together over the past few months and, hopefully, making a difference to the everyday lives of our customers.
The team’s collective experience has proven to them they are able to adapt with speed and agility – valuable assets in servicing the ever-changing needs of customers in these uncertain times. The branch is working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, providing materials for essential repair and maintenance and more broadly for Essential projects including the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate, Sunderland Hospital, and other projects all over the North East.