Acorn Timber Supplies closes after 37 years in business23 August 2021
Oxfordshire timber merchant Acorn Timber Supplies has closed its doors after successfully trading for 37 years.
The company, founded by directors Roger Goodchild and David Keeling, cited the expiry of its lease in Kingston Bagpuize near Abingdon as the principal reason behind the closure on July 30.
The age of the directors and increasing difficulty sourcing adequate timber supplies were also reasons.
The business started as a two-man band in February 1984, steadily growing to a team of 14 and an annual turnover of £2m-2.5m, offering a wide range of timber materials.
Mr Goodchild told TTJ that Acorn had the same landlord for 35 years, but then two years ago a new landlord came on board with plans to redevelop the site into new industrial units, serving notice on the company. Mr Goodchild said Acorn contested for the right to have suitable time to find an alternative site but ultimately couldn’t find somewhere after two years of searching.
He said that prior to the revoking of the lease, Acorn had plans to sell the business and had received expressions of interest. This interest melted away due to the lease situation.
“Material supply was certainly one of the reasons for closing,” added Mr Goodchild. “Accessing supply of carcassing and sheet materials was a problem. We had great difficulty with fencing. In the past, you would call suppliers and be able to get 99% of what you wanted. But in the last six months you would be lucky if you got half of what you wanted.”
Most of the company’s 14 employees have found alternative employment, the majority in the timber trade.
“We have been a good profitable company and we had good members of staff,” Mr Goodchild said.
“The way you sell timber has changed over the years, with more DIY retail customers. Builders let their clients buy materials so they can keep under the VAT threshold.”
This change didn’t always make the selling process easy as client buyers didn’t often understand what product specification to buy, often making sales longer and more complex.