Turning 40, our story so far.....
A family owned company, HBS started life in 1978 as a small hardware and ironmongery shop operating out of a premises in Henlow High Street that had previously been a grocers. (Today, it is home to a local dog groomer.)
The business was set up by David Curson along with his sister Jan Sapiano who had previously worked at Shefford Building Supplies. Within a year, David’s brother-in-law Paul Sapiano also left his job to join Dave and Jan.
After three years the business grew helped by David's Building Company and was officially incorporated as Henlow Building Supplies on 27th February 1981.
During the 1980s, the country was deep in recession and Dave and Paul had to work extremely hard during those tough years to build the business. In spite of these challenges, Henlow Ceramic Tile was established in 1997 and our longest serving employee Madelaine Major joined us. That same year, HBS temporarily moved to the old Redlands site in Arlesey Road, Henlow which is now owned by Henlow Bridge Lakes.
David’s sons, Chris and Paul Curson, joined the company at the beginning of the millennium, learning the family’s traditional values of personal service and knowledgeable advice. Both Chris & Paul are now the current managing directors.
In 2002, HBS joined the Builders Merchant Federation (BMF). We now work to a charter which covers customer care, depth of stock, structured credit, and product knowledge, all of which is underpinned by training and support provided by the federation.
During the winter of 2003 both Henlow Building Supplies and Henlow Ceramic Tile moved from their established customer bases in Henlow to the rear of Stratton Business Park. We opened our doors to local builders, trades people and DIY enthusiasts in and around Biggleswade on 2nd January 2004.
HBS joined the National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS) in 2005 – a buying group for independent builders, plumbers, and hardware merchants. Giving us the same buying power as the national merchant chains, it meant we could finally offer competitive pricing coupled with more personal service.
Local manufacturers that HBS has long supported over the last 40 years include Marshalls Paving based in Sandy and St Ives, Plasmor Blocks based in Biggleswade and ACO Drainage based in Shefford.
After many committed years working for HBS, Paul Sapiano retired in 2019.
2011 saw the introduction of state-of-the-art bathroom products into the tile showroom making HBS a one stop shop for customers’ bathroom projects. The showroom was expanded again in 2018 and the HBS Kitchens and Bathrooms brand was officially launched.
During the COVID lockdowns of 2020 we took opportunities to further improve the premises and update our IT systems. We also updated the shop to concentrate on more trade quality products.
For our birthday year we have redesigned our logo and signage” says Chris. “We have also invested in two new delivery vehicles. Look out for a new Maroon crane lorry due on the road in April 2021.
'Like everybody we look forward to the end of COVID restrictions so that we can celebrate our 40-year birthday with colleagues, customers and supplier partners once it is safe to do so - including Madelaine who still works for the company'.