Amazing Thames Valley Company: Blackwell’s Bookshops
Any Thames Valley company associated with the words black and books must be onto a winner, seeing as it’s the name of one of the greatest comedies of all time. And it also happens to be set in a book shop.
But for one week only, when Selective Recruitment thinks Black and Books, we’re not imagining red wine bottle lollipops or jam dispensers in the bath. We are in fact thinking of an amazing Thames Valley company that has changed the world of books, education and literature forever, for the better.
Why yes, we are of course talking about Blackwell’s Bookshops.
Opening its first shop in Oxford in 1846 and its iconic Broad Street store in 1879, the company has done what all century-spanning businesses must do to survive and grow: it’s innovated.
To this end, the first Blackwell publication, Mensæ Secundæ: verses written in Balliol College by H.C. Beeching, was printed in 1897.
Indeed, Blackwell’s publishing began the careers of many writers such as J. R. R. Tolkien, whose first poem Goblin's Feet was published in 1915.
Blackwell’s didn’t just want the upper and middle classes to read books though. To promote universal access to literature, Blackwell's pioneered a series of cheaper books, from a one-volume Shakespeare to 3-and-6 novels.
In 1966, the Norrington Room was opened, boasting three miles of shelving and at 10,000 square feet merited an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest single room selling books in the world. And in 1995, Blackwell's became the first bookshop in the UK to allow its customers to purchase online from a catalogue of over 150,000 titles.
So move over Amazon, Blackwell’s got there first!
Blackwell’s also rescued the Shakespeare Head Press, then commissioned well-known classics such as the Pilgrim's Progress, the works of the Brontës and a complete version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
It was also announced in 2009 that wealth shares would be distributed between staff, transforming the company into an employee-partnership, similar to that of retailer John Lewis.
In 2012 Blackwell's was – with Foyles, John Lewis department stores, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Argos – among the retailers to launch the Nook e-reader, the Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablet computers.
Today, Blackwell's employs over 500 people and maintains over 60 retail outlets across the UK, with flagship stores located in Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and London. Other branches are located on university campuses or are specialist branches, focusing on Music and Art, and even a shop in Aberdeen specialising in the oil industry.
So from everyone here at Selective Recruitment to everyone at Blackwell’s: we salute you!
Selective Recruitment to Exhibit at Get Connected Business Expo Oxford!
Selective Recruitment is delighted to announce that we will be exhibiting at the Get Connected Business Expo in Oxford on the 10th October 2019, alongside other prestigious companies such as the Google Digital Garage.
The expo is a rare chance to celebrate all things Oxfordshire business, and represents an event that brings many business people from the region together for a day of contact-making, opportunity and inspiration.
Hosted at the Kassam Stadium, the expo is one of the largest events of its type in the region, bringing together hundreds of business people from large, medium and small businesses (and pre-start-ups) within a 60 mile radius of Oxford, including those from Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire.
As well as the attendees, the expo has a comprehensive content programme, where business expert seminars provide insight and ideas to help businesses at different stages of growth. Scheduled networking events for particular sectors help make networking as useful as possible - and the event itself is a networking opportunity, with attendees wearing delegate passes including their business sector information, aiding useful contact-making.
Attendee tickets are free and available to book prior to the expo here. Seats at all the business expert seminars and at the networking events are also free and available to pre-book.
If you’d like to speak to Selective now or at the event, you can contact Selective Group's Managing Director Emma Hunt by any of the following means:
Guess the England vs Argentina score to win a crate of Krispy Kreme doughnuts for your office!
Amazing Thames Valley Companies: Owen Mumford
What do Mumford & Sons and Woodstock have in common?
Chances are you’re thinking folk music, festivals and the summer of love maaaaan.
But you would be oh so wrong.
And this is because we are Selective Recruitment, and we busy ourselves with celebrating great companies from the Thames Valley which have changed lives for the better - not four day music festivals in 1969. Although we do all love a boogie too.
We are OF COURSE talking about Owen Mumford, a global industry leader in medical device design and manufacturing.
Owen Mumford seeks to improve quality of life, encourage adherence to treatment and reduce healthcare costs. In short, making a world of difference, to a world of people. They do this by helping patients and healthcare professionals in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, pharmacies, care homes and clinics around the world deliver effective treatments for conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, with products spanning devices that make blood testing more comfortable to solutions that make it easier to administer life-saving medication
Tucked away in Woodstock, UK, the company dates back to the 1950s when founders Ivan Owen and John Mumford established the company. Today the medical device company has direct sales offices and a network of distribution partners serving customers in over 60 countries, and employs over 700 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia.
With almost 90% of their products exported to more than 60 countries, Owen Mumford has offices in the UK, USA, France, Germany, China, Mexico and Malaysia and specialist distributors across five continents. Selected as one of The World Economic Forum’s Global Growth Companies, they are a trusted partner to many of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and work closely with international partners to support our customers at a local level and to provide consistent and dedicated service.
So from everyone here at Selective Recruitment to everyone at Owen Mumford, we salute you!
Amazing Thames Valley Company: Fresh Direct
Think of Bicester and you think of one thing and one thing only: Bicester Village.
Heck, it’s so damn popular they even built a railway station there. Still, that should hopefully make the queues back to the M40 on Boxing Day a few coach-loads shorter. Blimmin’ Londoners and tourists - coming here, stealing all our discounted designer clobber.
But anyway, we digress (slightly). If you have a poke round Bicester, you might just stumble upon three whopping great warehouses full of tonnes of fresh fruit, veg, dairy and bakery.
And if you did, that probably means you’ve only gone and found the Head Office of Fresh Direct - who just happen to be one of the UK’s biggest fresh food suppliers!
Their Bicester depot is one of the key hubs of their operation, has been the HQ since 2001 and is also home to their prepared food teams, Fresh Prep and The Kitchen.
So what got did?
Well, in 1966 John Harris and Bill Hawkins started the business as a small shop in Bicester and a 3-tonne Austin lorry.
After 10 years, they had expanded to 32 shops. In the 80’s FreshGro (as it was known) grew into a fruit and vegetable wholesaler and in 1987, Bill retired from the business, leaving FreshGro as a 100% Harris family business.
This successful business kept growing to become less of a retailer and more of a supplier. They made one final tweak to the name – and so Fresh Direct was born! More space was needed for this rapidly growing business and in 2001 they constructed their brand new HQ in Bicester.
In July 2016, Fresh Direct was bought by Sysco, the world’s largest foodservice company. Even though they have new owners, this has not changed the way they run their business or their mission - they still like to think of themselves as that local fresh food seller!
They’re proud to be a non-corporate business that hasn’t forgotten it’s roots and still represents the same passion for quality, service and values that they were built on and that their customers can rely on – whether they’re a large, nationally-operating restaurant group or a small, independent village pub.
So what started out as just fresh produce and has grown to include a range of fruit, veggies, dairy and much more!
So from everyone here at Selective Recruitment, to everyone at Fresh Direct: WE SALUTE YOU!