Biography > Hills Electrical > Premises
It’s 1993 and I’m driving around Manchester trying to find some premises so we can start our geographical expansion. Driving up the M602 I see a sign for some premises for sale. I exit on the next motorway island and drive round in circles until I find the premises with the for sale sign. It turns out that they were occupied by Crabtree's, a Walsall wiring accessories maker, as a regional sales office and they were looking to dispose of them. We agreed to purchase them for £60K and by August 1993 they were ours.
We then decided to hire a manager to go without premises and we went out and recruited one. He wasn’t able to bring in much business or any and after a year or so he left and we found another manager. We found some work did some contracts but there was no great success and managers came and went. Later in the companies history, we’d find a manager and then after that the premises.
We hadn’t realised what a rough area the premises occupy. Men played football outside all day and young kids played around with balls as well. One day we had a phone call from a mother asking us to prevent her four year old from playing on our roof.
The premises were situated on the M602 above an embankment. And one occasion some robbers ran across the rail tracks that were opposite run across the motorway, broke past the fence that surrounded the motorway, climbed the embankment, broke through our fence, ripped the window bars off, broke the glass, smashed through the internal bars and as the alarms blared out, stole two computers. They then made the return journey across the bank, over the motorway and the railway tracks, scattering bits of computer as they went. Eventually having taken all those risks they got away with nothing.
We founded a division called Integrated Systems and it operated from these Manchester premises for a while. The idea was good but it never was commercially successful and we sold it as a going concern.
Eventually, we decided to close all operations and sell the premises. The number of potential buyers was very limited due to the location but after a couple of years in 2009 we found a buyer, for £140K and that was the end of the Manchester story.