FOOTWEAR distributor Gardiners is preparing to take its next big step forward when it unveils new premises in Quedgeley.
It is a case of best foot forward for developers who are constructing the 34,700 sq ft distribution centre at the Quedgeley West Business Park in time for its July opening.
Within the first six months of 2013, Gardiners saw phenomenal sales growth leading to the group investing £4million to double the size of its business over the next five years.
The new building is in addition to its existing base.
The firm distributes more than 2,000 different lines of footwear and workwear and is one of the largest UK footwear and clothing distributors. Brands that it delivers include CAT, Dr Martens, Hunter, Puma, Dunlop and Amblers.
At three storeys high, the premises will include a warehouse, office space and a modern showroom.
A spokeswoman for Gardiners said: “Gardiners is proud of its reputation for excellent customer service.
“The development site itself is the perfect opportunity to showcase our safety range and at the start of the project Gardiners supplied construction workers with their safety boots.”
Garth Chisholme, site manager from Barnwood Construction, said: “I have known Gardiners since I was an apprentice bricklayer in the 70s and worked on their warehouse in Alvin Street, so it’s nice to work with them again.
“The boots they supplied to me are light, comfortable and hard-wearing – just the job for a site manager.”
Gardiners is one of dozens of businesses who have based themselves in the Quedgeley area, with its strong links to the nearby M5 junction 12. The nearby Waterwells Business Park has also seen rapid expansion in recent years.
City councillor Fred Wood (C, Quedgeley Fieldcourt) said: “Quedgeley is a great place to live and do business.
“One only needs to look at the range of new businesses we are seeing set up here, so it is great to see an existing company expanding and doing so well.”
The firm’s strong ties with Gloucester go back much further to 1860, when it started as a humble tannery in Alvin Street. The company started tanning gloving leathers and progressed to horse harnesses. But as the sales of motorcars increased, they turned their attentions to shoe leathers and cut soles supplied to cobblers.
Five successive generations continued to run the business until the 1960s when the footwear business changed dramatically. The company started to distribute slippers, plimsolls, Wellington boots and casual footwear for the first time.
In 2008 the firm moved to new 50,000 sq ft premises.
Gardiners has been run since the 1960s by Peter and Jolyon Gardiner and today their sons James and Ben are at the helm on the company’s management board.