Two of the industry’s biggest regional wholesalers, NRW and RPW, have joined forces to create FSW, a firm with national coverage via a 20-strong network.
The merged firm will have its HQ in Cannock, which has doubled warehouse space to accommodate the expansion, and the network will also include FSW Belfast, formerly Fridge Spares (Northern Ireland).
NRW’s sister companies Just One Call, NRW FM and ESP will continue to trade separately as independent businesses.
Former NRW MD Mark Henderson, who will run the new business jointly with RPW boss Graham Hill, said the two
businesses were very complementary to each other, enabling the merger to take place without branch closures.
He said: “There is very little crossover, and so everybody gains. One of the elements that we would have needed for further expansion was a new back office computer system, and that would have required significant investment.
Now that our branches are running on RPW’s network, we have achieved that step. Because our staff have been able to buddy up with branches that are already running the system, it has made the transition much smoother.”
Mr Hill added: “There is a strong logic for the businesses to work together as both are built around knowledgeable experienced staff delivering high quality customer service”.
Mr Hill and Mr Henderson will share the running of the company, with Mr Hill leading the central HQ functions in Cannock and Mr Henderson leading the sales and branch network.
Mr Henderson said that the idea of combining the two businesses, which developed from the supplier relationship
between NRW’s procurement arm and RPW, was a sound move economically. “We are much better protected as a joint entity,” he said.
He added that, at least initially, FSW would be building on its existing regional business, rather than vying for national contracts.
“Everything is possible, but it is important not to lose the strengths that we built up - we don’t want to change the model that has been successful.”
FSW is part of the Fridge Spares Group, run by Dermot Byrne, which has three branches in the Republic of Island and also owns Italian wholesale and condenser businesses.