We are a family owned and ran company which originated back in the 1960’s with just 12 hens producing eggs for local residents. In 1966 the business was established by my parents Eddie and Pauline Kell under the ‘Eggy Shell’ trademark. As the business grew so did the hens with an average of over 6,000 hens producing eggs for the local shops and catering businesses. Alongside this they had a wholesale fruit and vegetable business supplying shops, takeaways and even the prisons in county durham with fresh produce and also two shops retailing in the area.
With the birth of the supermarkets in the 80’s-90’s they sadly saw a decline in trade with the local retailers and travelling shops becoming a thing of the past. With this in mind they decided to withdraw from the egg production market, concentrating on the wholesale side of the fruit and vegetable business.
My parents had always been keen animal lovers with dad having kept rabbits since the age of 7 years old and mam was known for her passion of goats and in particular Anglo-Nubians. They had a menagerie of animals including ducks, geese, horses and donkeys. With all these animals to feed they decided to buy feed in bulk. Friends would then take bags of feed for their animals and this led to a rethink in the business. In the early 90’s the pet side of the business was growing and more stock was being held on site. The wholesale fruit and vegetable side was still ran on a morning delivery route with the warehouse open for afternoon walk in customers. My school holidays always involved helping on the delivery round.
In 2008 a well respected feed businessman Gordon English sadly passed away. Gordon was infamous for stacking high and selling cheap. The majority of pet food was traded via Gordon in County Durham but Gordon left no children or relatives who wished to continue the business. At the same time my dad decided to slow things down (at the age of 74!). Seeing a gap merging in the market place I decided to step up and take the reins of the feed side of the business.
In 2009 I decided to rebrand the business as 'The Feed Warehouse' on the same site at Browney, Durham. I had came from a large national retailer background and brought with me a wealth of retail knowledge from my 10 years in the retail trade. With my parents still eager to lend a hand, I set about expanding the range of stock held in the 3,500 sq ft warehouse along with increasing opening hours and even convinving my dad that we needed to put some shelving up and introduce a computer system into the business. Dad was a chalk board and lump of chalk type of person but I knew if I was to expand the range we'd need to think differently.
So with a hand me down van and a 1983 forklift I set about trading. I attended a local mart on a Saturday to help boost sales, whilst my partner, Jill, juggled the task of keeping our new born Son entertained and also serving at the warehouse. Jill is horse mad and has a Connemara which she events around the North East and also has a rescue pony.
Sales grew and we took our first part time member of staff onboard. A huge step at the time for me. Needless to say sales continued and we kept growing in numbers along with introducing a specific delivery driver. A relief to me as I had previously been warehouseman, salesman and deliveryman all in one!
Our site in Browney has limited access so with the growth of the company I knew we would need to look at moving to larger premises. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at relocating the store we found a site slighlty further afield in Consett.. 1 store became 2 stores.
In 2013 The Feed Warehouse opened its second warehouse in Consett, County Durham. As well as a retail outlet, this 8,500 sq ft site has also become head office and distribution centre for the business. We now have a specific warehouseman who handles all the incoming lorries..and there can be lots of them in a day! Consett was a crucial addition to the business, allowing us to buy in bigger bulk and deal direct with all the main feed manufacturers.
We currently employ 15 full time staff as well as part time staff and have 2 full time drivers on the road delivering goods throughout the North East of England. We are registered to sell worming medication and pride our self on our passionate and knowledgeable staff.
We have introduced a large range of our own branded feeds which we have carefully sourced and had made to our own recipes including ranges for dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and even a homage to our roots - our very own 'Eggy Shell' layers pellets.
We also supply wholesale to a host of businesses via our Business 2 Business scheme including council organisations, large corporations and smaller businesses. Alongside this we offer bulk buying opportunites for retail customers.
Our warehouses are open to the public and are shopper friendly so please feel free to come and have a browse at the thousands of products in stock.
Since the very first year I have pledged money back to local good will causes, charities and shows. I'm proud to say in 2019 we donted over £10,000 and hope to do even more in 2020.
We buy it big and pass the savings directly on but not only that we give back to the local area. Why buy local ? That's why.
The business may have grown beyond our initial plans but I can safely say we are now, as we were then, a family ran business who are passionate about what we do.
From Myself, Jill, my parents and my hard working staff - the unsung heroes of this - we thank you for your custom and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Thanks for reading...