After 10 years at the helm, long-standing Sam's Trade Centre branch manager Ray Wood has retired from his role at the wholesaler.
Mr Wood has played a pivotal part in the set up and running of Sam's since it opened in 2004 and has seen the Essex business grow from a humble newcomer in the wholesale market to a multi-million pound non-food wholesale leader.
Sam's managing director Robert Milliken commented: "Ray has made a huge contribution to the success of the Sam's business during the past 10 years, and it has flourished under his leadership. We'd like to wish him all the best and thank him for his loyal service. However, we still expect to see him regularly with his inaugural Sam's Gold Membership Card - but on the other side of the tills!"
Since the start of this year, Mr Wood has been paving the way for the new Sam's manager, Neil Boughtwood, to take the reins, getting him fully up to speed with all aspects of the business and their loyal customer base.
Having previously worked for Marshal & Parsons Tools, Travis Perkins and Ashstead Plant Hire, Mr Boughtwood is also a fully-qualified Gas Safe plumbing and heating engineer. "Bringing such a wealth of relevant experience to the role with inside knowledge of the building, DIY and hardware trade, Neil will be a valuable asset in the onward progression of development of Sam's Trade Centre," said the company.
Now retired, keen steam engine enthusiast, Mr Wood intends to spend more of his time enjoying steam trains and paddle steamers, with his retirement gift of a large scale model of the Waverley Paddle Steamer now taking pride of place in his home.
Mr Wood, whose retirement last month coincided with his 65th birthday, reflected back on his time with the company: "I started at Sam`s Trade Centre on March 1, 2004 as a career change after 39 years in print. The Sam`s building was an empty shell and, during March, April and May, this empty shell was converted to a fully-fitted warehouse by all the contractors involved.
"The staff - of which there are two original members still with the company - and the stock arrived at the end of May. With a lot of effort, all the stock found a home and we were ready to open on Sunday, June 27. We had lots of stock but no customers signed up!
" The customers did come and, despite all sorts of advertising, our biggest compliment was being recommended by our first customers to new customers and so on, this has worked so well that here we are 10 years on and still growing."
He said of his successor: "However, one cannot become complacent, Sam`s requires lots of effort by all concerned to continue improving for its ever-increasing customer base. So, with this in mind, as manager for the past 10 years and reaching a certain age, I decided to retire and let a much younger Neil Boughtwood take over. His years of experience on the practical side will, I am sure, be a great asset, not only to Sam`s but to the customer. I wish him every success in succeeding me in progressing Sam`s trade Centre to the next level."