A lot of things have changed over the past 30 years – and Chrisbeon is most definitely one of them.
1989 was the year that Madonna’s Like a Prayer hit the charts, Licence to Kill hit the cinemas and the Berlin Wall came down….
It was also the year that company Partner Richard Hughes joined the family business, then based at the Priorslee Trading Estate.
He says: “Chrisbeon was launched in Cressage in 1974 by my dad Brian and his cousin Chris and not long after my mum joined the business too – so me joining the team 15 years later was a natural move.”
Richard started his career at Chrisbeon working in the warehouse before helping out on office furniture deliveries and installations and having a spell with his own van route, delivering next day stationery orders to customers around the Midlands.
After serving his apprenticeship in the warehouse and working on deliveries for around eight years he then moved into the sales side of the business, having achieved a great knowledge of the products and customers.
“Working within a family business leads to extensive experience and expertise because you are living and breathing that industry as an entire family.
“It means that I know my trade extremely well – and I am very proud to mark 30 years working within it,” he adds.
Whilst at Priorslee Trading Estate the business expanded to three business units before moving to the current Stafford Park premises in 1990 – a showroom in Shrewsbury was established in 2013 and is now based at Crown House in Lancaster Road.
Richard’s brother Craig joined the business 13 years ago and they now work side by side running the business on a daily basis.
And another member of the Hughes family, Richard’s son Tom, is the latest addition to the team in 2019.
New addition for 2019
“Tom joined the business full time this year after spending the last couple of years helping out in the family firm whilst in further education,” said Richard. “So it will be interesting to see if he stays for the next 30 years!
“It has been quite a journey and we have worked with such a wide variety of businesses along the way.
“One of the first large furniture installations I was involved in the year I started was the opening of Venture Pressings in Hortonwood Telford, many years later the site was taken over by Ogihara and again Chrisbeon kitted out the building with a large quantity of furniture.
In 2013 Stadco took over the empty site and I was heavily involved in the planning and supply of the new furniture for the offices yet again!
It has been really interesting to see the life of three businesses in one building.”
Amongst the highlights of the last 30 years for Richard was delivering and installing furniture for a long standing customer in their new Paris office and taking a trip to a manufacturer in Italy to view the factory and receive product training on the furniture ranges and 3D planning software – systems that are still used by Chrisbeon today.
The giant leap in technology over the past few decades have had a huge impact on businesses across the world – and Chrisbeon is no different.
“The internet and email has changed our business significantly,” says Richard. “We used to take the majority of our orders via the telephone or within our showroom whereas nowadays many regular customer order their stationery supplies via the website or email for quotes or to place orders.
“In our industry it is still more beneficial for people to come into the showroom, test the chairs, see the furniture in situ, so we still get to see a lot of people face to face.
“As a company, we also do a lot of networking with fellow Shropshire businesses, many of which are customers as it is a great way to keep in touch with the local business community.”