Sid Valley Business Awards: Fords South West

David Wheaton and Aaron Patch from Fords South West Ltd with their award.

David Wheaton and Aaron Patch from Fords South West Ltd with their award. - Credit: Archant

Fords South West Ltd, won the trade service award category, sponsored by EDIT.

The judges said: “This long-established company is a byword in Sidmouth for quality service, reliability and helpfulness.

“But the Ford family has recently retired and the company has been taken over by a group of local entrepreneurs led by David Salter, owner of the successful Clearvac company, that provides maritime services.

“The new team is anxious to maintain traditionally high standards of service, but is ambitious to expand the business, without losing its Sidmouth roots.”

What’s the history of your business and what does it do?

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“Originally started in the late 1800s, we became Fords South West Ltd in September 2016 and have at the helm four Sidmouth men as directors, so truly home born and bred talent.”

What inspired you to start it?

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“Dave Salter, Roger Flynn and Martyn Fisher are all directors of Clearvac International and they bought Fords to complement Clearvac as a land-based business.

“All the directors saw the opportunity to grow the business across the South West and offer the youth of the town the ability to join the company on traditional apprenticeships with a clear route through for promotion at the same time as looking after all loyal staff.

“Fords is definitely a family.”

Where do you see your business in five years’ time?

“Grown to encompass the whole of the South West, whilst still maintaining our base within the Sidmouth area, providing excellent employment for the local residents.

“We are already one of the biggest employers in the town and we want to offer good jobs for more without losing sight of our values.”

How did it feel to win your award?

“Amazing, because it recognised the efforts of all of our staff members, the support of their families and the hard work we have put into providing apprenticeships with our academy and maintaining and employing local people.

“We always try our best to give excellent service.

“We love our customers and want to go the extra mile to ensure they are satisfied by our efforts.

“The award definitely raised our profile and we had many congratulations.”

What advice do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business in Sidmouth?

“Join Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce.

“There are many official bodies able to assist new businesses – BIP, Start Up etc – seek advice and help from them.

“Speak with the local council EDDC and avail themselves of many of the free courses available locally.”

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

“Yes, our customers and our work colleagues without whom we wouldn’t have a business and of course the Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and especially Andy Downham and anyone involved in organising the awards.

“They did an amazing job.”

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