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Guest Blogger - Gareth Osborne

Gareth Osborne at Tarmac Cement offers a few tips to merchants looking to step things up a gear in 2021. Builders merchants have been key in helping support the construction industry’s recovery after a turbulent year, maximising their essential retail status to support trades that worked through COVID-19 restrictions. Growing …

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Cry Freedom. Or not.

Fiona Russell-Horne

What are you rebelling against? What have you got? So near and yet, so far. Just when we think things are getting back to normal – proper normal that is, not the new normal – the data proves otherwise and we are back in the midst of a huge lockdown, …

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Psst: got any cement, mate?

Fiona Russell-Horne

The scene: A dark alley, at the rear of a builders merchant yard. Midnight. Somewhere in Britain.   One man sits in a dirty white van as another drives up and flashes his lights, twice. They both get out of their vehicles. Man 2: Got the stuff? All of it? …

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Selling, selling, selling…Sold

Fiona Russell-Horne

Most people sell their souls, And live with a good conscience on the proceeds Almost 11 years to the day since Travis Perkins’ then CEO Geoff Cooper surprised the markets with a bid, subsequently successful, for the BSS Group, his successor bar one, Nick Roberts, has overseen the long-touted divestment …

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Because Covid:

Fiona Russell-Horne

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. “In these unprecedented times”; “Due to the coronavirus situation”; “Because of the staff shortages caused by the pandemic”; “our service levels may slip below what you might expect”; “it may take longer for us to answer your query”: What do …

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Marketing ideas for merchants

Alison Relf

Alison Relf, managing director of specialist construction PR firm Taylor Alden, looks at what merchants could think about to boost their marketing might. The “marketing” industry is full of inspirational ideas on how to promote your message and brand today. Communication channels and marketing techniques have become busier and more …

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Pomp and circumstance in the time of Covid

Fiona Russell-Horne

If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it – keep going, keep going come what may I’m guessing the black Range Rover is a damn sight easier to keep clean and Covid-safe than the gold State Carriage. It was still …

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Sofa, so (not very) good

Fiona Russell-Horne

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters They got him for tax evasion in the end. Al Capone, that is. After years of violence, gun-running, whiskey bootlegging and general mafioso-type nastiness, old Scarface, Public Enemy No 1, was undone by his reluctance …

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Fuelling our future

Fiona Russell-Horne

If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me. What’s that white box on the wall?” asked an American friend walking into the kitchen in my old house for the first time. She had trouble believing …

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Girl talk

Fiona Russell-Horne

That’s what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing. History was made on Saturday afternoon, in a Liverpool suburb. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘behind-closed-doors’ nature of this year’s Grand National horserace meant the cheers and tears …

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