A&B Glass – Celebrating 40 years of successful business
Like many success stories, A&B Glass is one that stems from sustained growth, learning to adapt to market trends and offering a first class service.
Founded in 1981 by Bob Addison and Ray Byford, both experienced craftsmen in the building trade, the company came about as a result of the demand for glazing work in the Sudbury area.
Operating from premises in Alexandra Road, Sudbury, Suffolk with one employee, A&B Glass was asked to take on more and more replacement window work and expanded from there.
First came a move to a purpose-built premises at Unit 2 Northern Road, Sudbury in 1984, with adjacent land of four and a half acres being developed by the partners’ own building company.
Then, having outgrown the space, came the move to a 20,000 square foot factory, offices and showroom at Woodhall Business Park, Sudbury where the showroom opened to the public July 30th 1988.
At this point, the company employed over 50 people with turnover of approximately £3m making it one of the biggest firms of its kind in the area.
In order to cope with trade, glass began being delivered to the warehouse in 23 ton loads, with 7 people working in the glass warehouse area and a further 14 making frames. 6 teams of skilled fitters handled the installation of frames on site and 4 teams of glaziers dealt with all aspects of glass contracts.
In addition to local retail, the company were now undertaking local authority contracts, replacing windows and doors in Sudbury, throughout East Anglia and into Greater London.
With evidence of an already fast growing PVC-u window market taking off further still, the company were working hard to put everything in place to capitalise on demand from local Retail, New Build and Commercial contracts.
In 1989 the Trade division was strengthened as the company had identified an opportunity to extend their supply of PVC-u windows, doors and conservatories to the trade across the country.
An exciting Approved Installer partner scheme was launched. Home Improvement companies across the UK enjoyed all the benefits of A&B Glass branded products taking pride of place in their showroom along with all the associated marketing. This initiated a long standing and loyal trade customer base of partners, many of whom are still friends and associates of A&B Glass to this day.
In 1997 the company made its first acquisition, buying reputable supplier to the industry Britannia Frames in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. This further developed both the A&B Glass Trade and New Build divisions and the following years saw rapid growth for the company, picking up a plethora of industry awards in the process.
In 2002 A&B Glass moved into a much larger manufacturing plant on Addison Road in Sudbury Suffolk. The opening of the 90,000 sq ft factory and offices saw significant investment in state of the art machinery that put A&B firmly at the forefront of UK PVC-u window and door manufacturing. This site remains the A&B Glass head office and production plant today.
The significant growth programme continued in 2005 with the acquisition of Commercial window and door manufacturer and installer Asset Manufacturing, based in Thetford Norfolk.
This was soon followed by the acquisition of Fineline in Rochester Kent, renowned in both the Commercial and Retail markets.
The Commercial arms of both Asset and Fineline later combined to become Asset Fineline, still the dedicated commercial division of A&B Glass group to this day.
In 2007 the company acquired well respected Trade supplier Coastal Windows in Poole, Dorset, instantly extending the Approved Installer network and Trade supply across the UK. Coastal was later sold in 2011.
In 2009 the company’s Trade division was extended further with the acquisition of John Fredericks Plastics, a Trade manufacturer based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire with the entire Trade network now supplied from 2 manufacturing sites in the North and South of the country.
In 2012 an MBO saw founder Ray Byford retire and hand over the reins to then Directors and current owners Dave Barrett and Steve Stone.
Amongst many other initiatives, the new owners saw potential for further growth within the New Build sector and in 2014 opened A&B Glass’ South West Depot in Tewkesbury, ready to service both National and Regional House Builders across the South West.
This model proved successful and in 2019 a further depot was opened in Maidstone Kent, providing the necessary structure to offer House Builders across the south of England the very best service.
By 2019, production demands at the 90,000 square foot A&B head office and factory in Sudbury were predominantly from the New Build and Commercial sectors. The decision was therefore made to move Trade supply to sister company John Fredericks Plastics in Huddersfield. This proved beneficial to all parties with John Fredericks being dedicated to trade supply only.
A&B Glass continued to build upon their strong reputation across both the New Build and Commercial sectors.
2021, our 40th year of business!
The company now manufacturers and installs PVC-u Windows, Doors and associated products for national and regional House Builders across the South of the country.
Asset Fineline, our Commercial Division, continues to provide Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Health and Education organisations and major Contractors with the full Commercial fenestration service.
And our local Retail Division, A&B Glass Home Improvements, provides homeowners in Sudbury and the surrounding area, with a high quality installation service that is synonymous with the A&B Glass reputation and the company’s esteemed heritage.
A&B Glass would like to thank all staff, customers and suppliers, past and present, who have helped the company to reach this milestone as we look forward to the next 40 years!
To read more about our journey visit: www.abglass.co.uk/40years