Five staff members have been honoured for their long service to Norman Piette.
Steve Desperques has reached his half-century; Lester Forman and Gary Pitschou are celebrating 40 years while Nigel Gontier and Jamie Falla have both achieved 25 years.
Steve Desperques, who started at the builder’s merchants in 1969 as an apprentice machinist in the Mill Department, says in those days the older generation were fiercely protective of their jobs and were reluctant to teach any new starters:
‘It was quite a challenge to learn at first, but I got there’, says Steve. ‘Now I oversee the timber department along with heavyside, the insulation shed and transport as well as facilities. I also play an active role in our buying group and sit on the timber committee.’
Nigel Gontier says the company has grown the selection of products available to customers since he began and there are more retail customers than 25 years ago. Nigel believes this is because more people attempt small building works in their homes by themselves.
Jamie Falla says the site at Bulwer Avenue has grown since he started:
“The back yard was just a wasteland but is now a vital space, and as a result, we have been able to grow our product range drastically, and we now sell a much wider and more varied amount of items, while still focussing on core products as a builders’ merchant.”
Jamie believes the internet has made a big difference to Norman Piette’s business:
“Because of the internet customers are more aware of products and can be more price sensitive. We always emphasise the advantages of buying ‘on island’ and the benefits this brings such as after-sales service and experts to talk to if something goes wrong. Our website is now a hub of information for customers which they appreciate. We also have an online account system which tradesman find very useful when doing their paperwork.”
Paul Rogers, CEO of Norman Piette says these long-serving members are the backbone of the business: “Their years of knowledge, practical experience and loyalty are the foundations on which the company’s excellent customer service has been built. I thank and congratulate them all for their achievement.”