Forty years ago Wetherby-based New Guard Coatings Group first ventured into the world of industrial paints and coatings. The Cooper family is now into its third generation of running the business, which operates as a £multi-million, multi-national group of companies with entities in the UK, Ireland and the USA.
Back in April 1977 – when Alan Cooper and his son Paul first established the company – it was a small operation selling and distributing its own range of coatings. Today it holds close ties to the world’s leading manufacturers including PPG, Jotun and Rust-Oleum whilst still developing its own products through the Guard range.
From one small hub in Wetherby the group has grown to have four premises within the UK: Wetherby, Leicester, Hull (Industrial Paint Supplies (Hull)) and Rushden (East Midlands Paint Supplies) as well as recently opening up its first physical location within the United States in Houston, Texas.
Originally the American operation was ran virtually through Delaware with suppliers delivering direct on their behalf; until it generated enough cash to reinvest in bricks, mortar and local staff. The operation in Texas is 1200ft² in size and can service the Greater Houston area, whilst being located on the central corridor to deliver anywhere in the country if required.
In the last five years New Guard has grown from eight staff and £1.5m in turnover to circa £5m group turnover and 34 employees.
Managing director Ben Cooper commented: “Despite the rapid expansion, we feel it is important that family values remain at the core of what we do, from service levels to staff well-being, with everybody feeling like they’re part of one team despite the international growth.”
New Guard says it continues to look the future, with an aim to have a larger global presence to maximise market opportunities with the aim to expand in Northern Europe, Western Europe and further into North America whilst ensuring it remains at the forefront of distribution in the UK and Ireland.