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Relocation plans mark 50th anniversary

UK: Refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler Thermofrost Cryo plans to relocate its main Birmingham office and warehouse to a larger central facility in the coming months. 

The move from its long-established Rea Street address comes as the company celebrates its 50th anniversary. Thermofrost Cryo says it is seeking a new facility that will provide increased stockholding capability in a location “more suitable for distribution”.

Post Covid-19, Thermofrost Cryo says it is now seeing a healthy increase in sales and is confident in its future. However, its London office in West Norwood, whilst serving the company well since 1989, was deemed to have become geographically unfit for purpose and started a phased closure in 2019. 

Formed in 1972 by Bob Fawkes and Bengt Lindgren as United Termofrost Ltd it had modest beginnings, trading from a small office above an Indian restaurant near London Bridge. Initially, it had just two employees – Andrew Barwick, who ultimately became the first MD and a secretary. Since then, the company has grown to become a leading refrigeration and air conditioning distributor in the UK market, offering a wide range of products to the trade.

Consistent growth resulted in a move which took the company just a short distance away, to Borough High Street, where the office and warehouse was expanded several times.

ln 1982 the company expanded with Birmingham-based wholesaler Delta Cryo Ltd. Cryo was moved to a larger Birmingham base in 1985, and two years later was fully merged with United Termofrost and renamed Thermofrost Cryo Ltd. 

Cryo director Philip Sloper became MD of the company in 2004, following the retirement of Andrew Barwick.

Refrigerator Components Ltd of Manchester was acquired in 2002, ultimately becoming Thermofrost Cryo’s third location.

Current joint MDs Alan Wright and Steve Mace, with 33 years of Thermofrost experience between them, took over the reins in 2014 after the retirement of Philip Sloper. At the retirement of long-term financial director John Copping in 2015, ex-employee Maja Hilton returned to replace him and complete the current executive director team.

In fact, staffing over the years has shown remarkable stability. 40% of current staff have more than 20 years service with the company and there is a significant number of staff who have left the company at some stage but re-joined later in their careers.

Also, the company has remained in family ownership for the entirety of its existence. Following the death of co-founder Bob Fawkes, his wife Margaret assumed greater involvement until daughter Vicky D’Cruz became chairman at the retirement of Bengt Lindgren in 1994. Vicky D’Cruz is still in post today and her son and step-son now serve on the board as well.

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