Last Friday saw nearly 150 dealers, service companies and suppliers head to the First Choice Group’s headquarters in Cannock, Staffordshire, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the spares specialist.
Greeted with a champagne reception, visitors had many opportunities to network with fellow attendees and with a coterie of major equipment suppliers exhibiting around the conference room.
Exhibitors included Rational, Brita, Mechline, Blanco Professional, Electrolux Professional, FedEx, Roller-Grill, Middleby UK, ISA, EauVation, Ambach, Comenda, ByBox, Pentland, Krupps, Wexiodisk and Welbilt.
First Choice MD John Whitehouse then detailed how the company has grown from hitting its initial aim of £1m turnover within 3 years to today’s nearly £30m, with an aim of reaching £50m in the next few years.
He took the attendees through the story of how First Choice has developed to now occupy the purpose-built Kingswood Lakeside premises, helped significantly by the backing of PT Holdings, which bought out the company in 2017.
Whitehouse underlined that his firm has the UK’s largest stock of OEM spares, with £8m of stock onsite.
Following a presentation about PT Holdings and sister company Parts Town’s rapid growth and capabilities, it was the turn of sales director Neil Vincent to take to the stage, praising Whitehouse as having huge amounts of integrity: “He keeps his word and promises, working with staff and suppliers to provide the best service.”
Vincent then presented Exclusive Brand Partner 2019 awards to Ambach, Blanco, Comenda, Frigoglass, Granuldisk, Husky, ISA, Krupps, MKN, Roller Grill, T&S, Welbilt and Wexiodisk.
The Most Outstanding Supplier award 2019 was presented to Electrolux Professional, followed by Advent Catering Equipment picking up the Customer Development award 2019 and JLA collecting the Partner Innovation Award 2019. The ceremony section of the day concluded with MKN being recognised in the First Master Distribution Agreement partner award. A prize raffle was then drawn.
Whitehouse then returned to guide the assembled audience through the launch of First Choice’s new webshop/web platform, which will feature parts photographed in 360 degrees and list prices displayed online.
The final presentation was from consultant Richard West, who drew parallels with the motorsport industry and the First Choice Group, saying: “Enterprises have got to have vision. And it takes both the individual and an exceptional team to make that vision happen.”
The day concluded with the ‘Golden Ticket Giveaway’ draw seeing the PKL Group winning a trip to Chicago.
For a full report on the event, look out for the July issue of Catering Insight.