Chris Harris, the former owner of Harris of Stirchley, has spoken to BMJ about his decision to sell to Travis Perkins.
“It was the right thing to do for my family really,” he says. “Obviously the money was right and it has given me the options and flexibility that I need right now. I’ve still got a lot of friends in the industry, so I’ll be keeping in contact with them.”
Harris was an active member of both the Builders Merchants Federation and the National Buying Group. They were with NBG from the start.
“I was as active as much as I could be within the industry,” he says. “It’s a good little industry to be in and I will miss it. I do still have my contacts in the industry and I’m still attending the young merchants’ dinner, so I’ll be able to keep my eye on it.
“I know that as someone who has sold out to the big boys I’m the enemy and a good friend of mine said something to that effect to me when I told him, but it really was the right move for me.”
NBG executive chairman Allan Durning has said that Harris’ played an important part in the development of the group, being one of the original members in NBG’s inital incarnation, Prospero, along with County Building Supplies and Shropshire Building Supplies.
“We’re sorry to see them go,” says Durning. “Chris’ input will be sorely missed. He was an extremely decent individual and played a big part in the development of the group. We wish him the best of luck.”
Harris of Stirchley are now being fully integrated into Travis Perkins’ branch network. The company had been in Harris’ family for over 80 years, serving the Birmingham area. They also owned another branch in Aldridge under the name CH Crees.
“I am sad to see the business go, it was in my family for a long time,” Harris says. “I really enjoyed running it and obviously we had a lot personally invested in the business, but when the paycheque hits your desk, you have to think about what’s right for you and your family in the long-term.”
Harris now runs a property company and a tool hire operation in Newcastle.