Food and drink wholesaler JW Filshill, one of Scotland’s oldest independent food and drink wholesalers, is ramping up investment ahead of its move to purpose-built premises in the autumn with the acquisition of the independent Iain Hill Ltd wholesale business, located just a few miles away in Renfrewshire.
Family-owned Filshill, based at Hillington Park and on track to relocate to its brand new 123,034sqft distribution centre at Westway Park near Glasgow Airport, has acquired Linwood-based Iain Hill – a delivered wholesaler that specialises in soft drinks, confectionery, snacks and other impulse products, for an undisclosed sum.
Simon Hannah, chief executive officer at JW Filshill, commented: “Iain Hill Ltd is a perfect fit for Filshill given the many synergies between the two businesses – both independent family-owned companies with the same values and people-focused culture, and a similar geography given their proximity to each other in Renfrewshire. Both Filshill and Iain Hill use the same IT and app suppliers which will make the transition easier.
“I have known Iain Hill and his wife, Aileen, for many years and they are excellent operators with a strong and loyal customer base and an exceptional team of employees who we are looking forward to welcoming to the Filshill family and who will benefit from career progression opportunities in the future.
“Iain Hill’s customers will benefit from a more extensive product range including fresh, chilled, alcohol and al grocery offer – our business development managers and their teams will work closely with those customers to help them develop their businesses.
“As we prepare to move to our new headquarters, having Iain Hill’s experienced staff and assets, including modern HGVs, puts us in an excellent position to hit the ground running and expand our customer base.”
The acquisition also means that Filshill is looking to recruit locally for additional drivers and warehouse operatives.
Iain Hill, managing director of Iain Hill Ltd, who launched his business from his parents’ garage 32 years ago, said: “There’s a great synergy between the two businesses and the most important thing for me is that my staff will be moving to a like-minded independent, family-owned business that takes a people first approach.
“After 32 years in the industry, is the right time for me to exit the business and give my staff, most of whom have been with me many years, the opportunity to work in a purpose-built, state-of-the-art distribution hub that will be just three miles from Linwood. For my customers, the number of food and drink lines available to them increases from 1,200 to 6,500 overnight so it a great opportunity for them to reassess their businesses and plan for growth.”
Filshill, a fifth-generation business, saw turnover soar to £191 million – up 23% from £155 million – in the year ending January 31, 2021. The business was founded in Glasgow in 1875 and supplies KeyStore retail outlets across Scotland and the north of England, national accounts including the Scottish Prison Service. It also has 1,600 independent customers.
Both JW Filshill and KeyStore have been ranked number one by suppliers in the respected independent Advantage Group Report – in 2022, Filshill came out on top in the wholesale channel programme for the twelfth year in succession while KeyStore led the fascia groups for the fourth consecutive year.