Gloucestershire Live Best Employee Award | Winner: Josh Boiles | Headline sponsor Randall & Payne
Category: Awards

The new recruit who reinvented the Nicks Timber online offering leading to business success during lockdown

Josh Boiles of Nicks & Company (Timber) Ltd scooped the Best Employee Award at last year’s GloucestershireLive Business Awards.

Nicks continually reinvents itself to fill the ever-changing demands of its marketplace and pride themselves in their high levels of service and quality, as well as its long-standing reputation setting them apart from the rest. We find out more about the business and what Josh did to stand out to the judging panel.

Nicks Timber logo

Who are Nicks Timber?

  • Nicks Timber is a traditional Timber Importer Merchant bringing product from around the world to its site in Gloucester for processing and resale.
  • Gloucester’s oldest family business founded in 1854 and trading from the same location since 1865. They are bringing through the next management team to take over in the next decade.
  • Highly skilled 25-strong workforce, some who have been with the company all their working lives, the longest with over 54 years’ service.
  • Owner MD, Phil McCormick, is Chair of the Western Timber Trade Association and a Director of TIMBER DEVELOPMENT UK (TDUK) also chairing The Timber Standards Board and charged with the creation of a new apprenticeship for the industry.

Josh Boiles joined Nicks in January 2020 as a field salesperson, with a CV focussed on his past trade experience rather than his educational qualifications. Covid restrictions put a stop to Josh visiting clients and living in Andover it was not practical for Josh to drive to Gloucester every day since what he could do working from home was limited.

Why Josh stood out to the judges.

During lockdown, Josh contacted Phil McCormick, Owner MD, with the observation that the Nicks website was “very poor”, which was not the sort of criticism expected from a new employee. Phil explained that Nicks was mainly a business-to-business supplier and therefore the website was for information and had been put together some time ago on a very small budget.

Josh suggested he could build a new website and with a budget of £500 and a month later Nicks had a very professional looking and impressive new site – it turned out that Josh has a degree in IT!

Having impressed with the new website, he then questioned why Nicks didn’t have an E-shop to complement their physical Trade and DIY centre. Within six weeks Nicks had a very impressive fully functioning E-shop built by Josh with a further £500 budget. With Covid now in full swing and Furlough placing people at home, it immediately took off and in its first year of trading produced a turnover of over £400,000 with a healthy margin.

Josh took on the role of online sales manager alongside the job he was originally employed to do, and is constantly updating and improving their online offering as demonstrated by this list of achievements:

  • Updated sites with full APP for mobile function, multiple payment methods and a credit facility on larger purchases.
  • A trade version has been created for the small builder.
  • Their sites have now been cloned for their sister company F W Morgan Cardiff who operate two builders merchant sites and a port importing operation on Cardiff docks.
  • A new BIY site (Buy It Yourself – employ a tradesman to do the work) which enables homeowners to purchase goods at trade prices when employing trades to do the work with all documentation shared between all parties to insure correct supply.
  • Nicks launched a new product in 2022; “ESP” Panel & “ESP” Timber, and it took just a few days to get a site built and out to customers and the online sales exceeded £500,000 in the first few weeks.

Josh masterminded their online offering in a matter of 18 months with budget of less than £5k. Nicks enjoyed one of its most profitable trading periods in its 167-year history between 2019 and 2022 helped by Josh’s contribution and he will play a major part in Nicks future.

Gloucestershire Live Business Awards 2022 Sponsored by Randall & Payne