In March, Welfaux turned 34. We’re celebrating by reminiscing on the complete, family-orientated journey of Welfaux Materials Handling.
The Very Beginning
Welfaux Materials Handling was started by Trevor Welsher on March 18th 1986, as the realisation of a long-term ambition – he first registered the business name in 1972. Trevor spent most of his working life in the Materials Handling industry, selling slotted angle iron in the 1960s before moving into the forklift truck sector. He spent his early career working for a number of different companies, before advancing to UK Sales Director at international materials handling company, Briggs Equipment. After developing this role as far as he could, it was time to realise his dream; the dream he began when he registered the Welfaux company name in 1972.
Father and Son Lead the Expansion
Trevor was joined at WMH by his son Andy Welsher, the current Managing Director, in November 1986. Within the company’s first year of trading, WMH became a dealer for the Still Materials Handling range of equipment which helped to assist their growth. At the time of taking on the Still Dealership, the company was operating from an office in Trevor’s house, which rapidly became too small, necessitating a move to larger premises. From a small office above an estate agents to an industrial unit in Arborfield, the business kept growing, built on a great reputation and commitment to their customers.
After a lengthy search, premises four times bigger than the Arborfield unit were found on the Toutley Industrial Estate in Wokingham. We moved into these premises in July 1995, enabling our growth to continue to accelerate. During 1998, the opportunity to purchase this unit, the unit next door and an adjacent parcel of land arose. This purchase was successfully concluded in September of that year, allowing us to now facilitate our rapid expansion.
Moving to Mitsubishi
Over the coming years the business continued to grow. Andy Welsher took over as Managing Director in January 2000, giving Trevor the opportunity to take a back seat and then retire in March 2001. During the year 2000 and the early part of 2001, it became obvious that the company could not continue with its growth plans while selling the Still Materials Handling range of equipment. So, the search for a suitable range of products to market began. After some extensive research, an agreement was reached for WMH to become a main dealer for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks. This dealership commenced on the first of September 2001 and is still the mainstay of the company’s business to this day.
Surviving the Recession
The progress and augmentation of the company endured, ensuring it was able to weather the worldwide economic slowdown between the years of 2007 and 2013. Trading slowly started to return to normal during 2014. In January 2015, Richard Blagden was appointed to the board of Directors as Operations Director. Richard started with the company in July 1989 as a Service Engineer; he has also worked in sales, sales management and service management.
In March 2015 Andy Welsher’s son, Chris Welsher, joined the company as an Area Sales Manager. He has recently changed roles to assist the Directors with the operational side of the business.
Award-Winning and Accredited
In 2016 the company received a very special accolade, being voted dealer of the year at the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) annual awards. This award recognised WMH’s outstanding customer service and ability to provide innovative solutions. It was made all the more special being awarded by the company’s peers in the industry. Then, in February 2020, we became the first UK company to be awarded the FLTA accreditation, marking us out above the rest as superior and trustworthy forklift distributors and engineers.
Today, WMH is one of the foremost materials handling companies in the south of England. We don’t just sell Mitsubishi forklifts – we are also proud to be approved resellers of the Combilift and Aisle-Master ranges along with the Narrow Aisle Flexi and Hubtex products, to name but a few. This is in addition to being authorised dealers of the Karcher range of industrial cleaning equipment, the JCB range of powered access equipment and the Master Mover range of pedestrian tow tugs.
We are thrilled to have been able to continue business-as-usual during the Covid-19 pandemic; a nice hark back to our survival during the 2008 recession. As businesses start to return to normal, we remain open, accessible and fully functioning for all your materials handling requirements.
To get in touch, please visit our contact page – we’re looking forward to hearing from you.