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000895 - Torbay 23/11/09 13:22 Page 1
In the spirit of Torex
I’m going to the
w because
Following the success of Plymouth Tool Hire, established in March last year,
Andy Webber has now opened Torbay Tool Hire in Torquay. Robert Aplin reports.
It was in the corresponding issue last year that we met up with Andy The Torbay Tool Hire team comprises Manager Lee Wood, Assistant
Webber, who, after 26 years experience working for other hirers in Manager Paul Black and driver Daron Beech. Lee and Paul were the
the city, began trading as Plymouth Tool Hire Ltd in March last year. former management team at the local Speedy depot and each has a
In the first of our ‘Taking the Pulse’ series of articles this June, thorough grounding in hire. Lee started out with Torex (that name
Andy updated his progress, reporting, “we have been very busy, again) in 1987 and has since worked for Jewson and Brandon, as well
with turnover reaching £47,000 in the month of April. We continue to as Speedy, where he spent seven years, the last five in Torquay as
invest and, so far this year, I have spent £30,000 on new equipment. Manager. Paul started at his father’s hire business, Universal Tool
If, God forbid, everything came back off hire, we couldn’t get it all in Services in Totnes 12 years ago, and stayed with Brandon, who bought
- nowhere near it. We are really, really busy.” Universal, for two years, before spending the last four years as Lee’s
assistant at Speedy.
Lee Wood comments, “whilst I had seven great years at Speedy,
being here is like working for Torex again. I feel more valued as a
team member. We are certainly looking after our core local customers
better.” Both Lee and Paul agree “the move has been good for us.
We have the freedom to manage as we think best and use our
knowledge of equipment to help customers solve problems. Andy has
done everything that he said he would – he has invested in new kit,
as well as the premises. If we need anything, Andy will buy it for us.”
As well as moving some equipment from Plymouth, Andy Webber
has invested £65,000 in new equipment. Top of the list is two
Andy Webber (left) and the Torbay Tool Hire team outside their orange premises.
Takeuchi TB106 1.5 tonne mini excavators, as well as Makita
This success in Plymouth prompted Andy to open a second depot breakers, Belle mixers, Husqvarna K750 disc cutters, Brendon mini
35 miles to the north in Torquay on 28 September. The significance of bowsers, Stihl hedge trimmers and Birchwood lighting. “We continue
this location is that the town was also home to Torex Hire, the well- to buy everyday hire items as they are needed.” Walk-in sales already
respected independent hirer that operated throughout the south west account for 25% of turnover, with Parkers contractors’ tools and
of England before its acquisition by Jewson in the 1990s. By adopting wheelbarrows being particularly popular.
the Torbay name, Andy plans to serve the English Riviera towns of
Brixham, Paignton, Newton Abbot, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Totnes and “We are still
Teignmouth and believes that he can serve as far afield as Taunton. very busy in
Reflecting the spirit of Torex, Andy Webber has painted Torbay Tool averaging
Hire’s premises, only a couple of hundred yards from Speedy, in the £40,000
famous Torex orange, as he also has done in Plymouth. The Torbay a month
premises are larger that those in Plymouth, and feature a good size turnover.
showroom, hire counter and a large storage area, all of which is Our start in
under cover. Torquay has
been steady,
“In early summer, I set about searching for premises and a team to run and we
the operation. I soon found the team and started looking for the right are picking
premises. The outlet is based on the busiest industrial estate in Torquay, up new
New Takeuchi minis are part of the Torbay Tool Hire investment.
there is a builders’ merchant nearby and we have ample parking. business from small and medium-sized builders in the area all
In total, the outlet is nearly double the size of our Plymouth premises.” the time. Everything is in place to develop further.

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