“To help us celebrate a fantastic 40 years in business every month between August and December 2017 we will be sending our lucky 40th customer a free hamper of goodies, After all it’s thanks to our clients that we’ve stood the test of time…”
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Take a step back in time with us to celebrate 40 years…
Westgate Group has evolved significantly from its beginnings and is pleased to be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Starting door to door with samples of window film, today Westgate have a recognised multinational client base across their three divisions; Westgate Factory Dividers, Site Segregation, Solar Control and its sister company Lockmetal.
Founded in 1977 by Derick Gates, the initial business was Westgate Solar Control and was run out of the family home in Stafford. An engineer at heart, Derrick soon realised that mailshots were a much simpler, more time and cost-effective way of marketing than going door to door. Potential customers were provided with a small sample of window film and it is claimed that “many of these could be seen stuck to the windows of local companies” as people tested out the solution.
The investment paid off and the company’s very first job was installing an anti-fade window film in a shoe shop. The job wasn’t without a few hiccups though. Mr Gates, keen to get it right, actually installed, removed and re-installed the film a few times to make sure he was satisfied with it. As a result the job barely broke even! The Westgate demand for quality and ‘a better way’ is still pursued and the installation process of Westgate’s window films is a lot quicker and smoother now.
The progression of this work meant that by 1980, the company was able to move to its first official business premises and even got its first company van – a Ford Escort!
Due to the seasonal nature of the solar control products, it was in 1981 that Westgate decided to branch out into supplying and installing industrial partitioning (Flexiwall and Flexiscreen being the main products) and Westgate Factory Dividers was born.
This extra faction of the business and the continued growth, meant that in 1987, Westgate moved into larger premises. This didn’t last long though, as just five years later with continued growth, it was decided to move into better premises next door which had come up for sale.
During this period, the partners wanted to support an initiative to set up charitable schools, the new site would offer sufficient space for this, and so the small school was started. Westgate continues to support such entities to this day.
The third division of the company, Westgate Site Segregation, was launched in 2005 along with the very first Hoardfast range. Interestingly, Hoardfast (an internal hoarding system) was the outcome of various partitioning experiments using particle boards, the PVC range that, with some alterations along the way, now forms a vital part of our core product range.
Two years later, and with all three divisions of the company up and running, Westgate Group moved into Verulam Road in Stafford; the same premises that they currently reside in today.
Until 2010, Westgate had sourced all Flexistrip and certain other industrial door products via a separate company, Shawdoor Sales. In 2010 the Shawdoor Sales brand was brought over, cutting out the middle man and gradually over the next couple of years the name merged within the Westgate Factory Dividers Division.
Having built the company from the ground up, Derick Gates sadly died in 2009, leaving the 32 year old business in the hands of Gerrard, John and Edward; who had been working in the business for over 20 years.
It was during this time that the company, like so many others across the country, was hit hard by the recession. Despite these hard times, the brothers weathered the storm and the company just about managed to break even.
From this point, recalling their father’s determination for the business to succeed, they strived to put everything into turning the business back around after the economic downturn and making it the success it is today.
In November 2014, the opportunity arose to partner with another company, Lockmetal, supplying rainwater goods and specialist cladding. While remaining a separate financial entity, the management decided that both companies could benefit from co-directorship and joining together under the stronger Westgate Group brand. This partnership has continued to develop and succeed, through a gradual process of merging business areas, sharing experience and gaining efficiencies.
After investing in marketing, product development and its team of people, Westgate Group continues to grow. It has a diverse range of clients all over the country and even as far afield as Iceland.
As of 2017, Westgate’s vision and mission has been adapted to suit a customer focused business and research and development continues to be featured heavily in future plans.
The conclusion of 40 years is that the more you learn, the more you realise you’ve yet to learn!