Family firm are One Stop Country Store

Dining Out

Featured in:
July 2013

Most businesses start life as small acorns and through hard work become strong oaks and the forty year history of Phillips Animal Health Ltd, a Horncastle based agricultural merchants, is testament to the value of reliability and organic growth.
Established in 1973, by husband and wife, Geoff and Margaret Phillips, the business has come a long way since the early days, when they used their garage for product storage, to their current purpose built unit on the town’s Boston Road Industrial Estate.

Geoff and Margaret are still directors involved with the business but it is the second generation of the family who drive the momentum today. All four children are involved – with Mark as sales director, Paul as general manager and Kate and Sharon involved in the administration.

“We began by specialising in supplying the county’s pig farmers with their animal health needs and consumables,” explained Paul, “and within three years diversified into the manufacture of the Phillard range of pressure washers.

“These are still the two main core parts of our business but we have also responded to the ups, downs and changes in the agricultural sector to meet the needs of our customers.”

Another important milestone of the last four decades was in 1993 when the company became members of Downland, a network of privately owned, independent agricultural distributors. Their philosophy of Best Advice, Best Products and Best Value fitted perfectly with Phillips’ own approach. The ensuing access to own label products and the increased buying power has stood Phillips well when competing with larger organisations.

While still being pig specialists, Phillips Animal Health now serve all sectors of livestock farming with cattle and sheep customers a large part of the client base. Equine and pet owners, as well as smallholders have also increased and everyone welcomes the advice from Phillips’ knowledgeable, friendly staff who will always go the extra mile to source or supply a product.

“Our product mix has become broader,” continued Paul, who has worked for the company for sixteen years. “We expanded into animal feeds, supplements, equipment, fencing and many other feeding and husbandry items so that we are a one stop country store to save our clients time and expense.”

While proud of their local Horncastle roots to cover Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, Phillips Animal Health also markets and distributes pig equipment and pressure washers nationwide. Pig feed hoppers, drinking and water dosing systems and infra-red heating equipment is sold to agents and farmers across the UK.

Phillard pressure washers are built to be simple, robust and with a long life, well suited for the agricultural sector but their quality is also appreciated by other industries and public sector clients with sales to local councils and police forces.

“A highlight for us in recent years was the sale of pressure washers to The Royal Stud at Sandringham,” said Paul. “We are very proud that they sought a British manufacturer to supply this equipment.”

“We are also proud of our hard working and long serving staff” adds Paul, who share the commitment to looking after the strong and loyal customer base. Whether it is Alan Dunlop who is responsible for sales to key accounts , Julie Baxter heading up the office team, service engineer Richard Easter, stores manager Norman Grant, delivery driver Stephen Sanderson or Cleasie Ward welcoming customers at counter sales – it is always the aim to make sure orders are fulfilled and products delivered when needed, if humanly possible.

A new generation of the family is also beginning to make its mark in the company. Jonathan Phillips, Mark’s son, is working within the pressure washer side taking an engineering course with plans in the near future to join his father and Alan looking after the customer base.

Phillips Animal Health Ltd are certain that were it not for the continued support they have received from their clients, the business would not have endured and grown as it has.

“We want to say a big ‘thank you’ to our customers and our staff,” Paul summed up, “for the support they have given the company over the past forty years.

We believe that if we stick to Best Advice, Best Products and Best Value we won’t go far wrong and should still be here, in one shape or form, in another forty years.”

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