It’s been a reflective time for the whole country this week, as we marked a year since the first national lockdown.
It really has been a difficult time, and my heart goes out to everyone impacted – fingers crossed we continue on the right path.
We’ve had another reason for reflection here at Shields Buildings – March 2021 marks thirty years since we started out.
Getting information out of my husband can be like drawing blood from a stone at times, but the other day I managed to sit him down and get a potted history about how the business started, and the journey we’ve been on over the last three decades.
1991 – Pub Benches
With “Mad Cow Disease” blighting the farming industry, the family farm was struggling. John started supplementing the farm income in March 1991 by making garden furniture, securing an immediate lucky break with a picnic table order for Lydford Gorge.
Before long we were making picnic tables all over the south of England, mainly for Whitbread and Harvester pubs, and occasionally to celebrities like David Suchet aka Poirot!
1995 – The Accidental Move
We continued to grow, and in 1995 we took on full-time staff, and started fielding enquiries far beyond the standard shed, with double glazing and insulation top of the wish list.
Without planning it, we found ourselves in the world of garden studios and offices, and crafting buildings in some notable places like the London museum and the Dartmouth lifeboat house.
2012 – Shields Buildings is born
Up until 2012, the business was known as John Shields Woodwork, but after working with a PR expert, we rebranded as Shields Buildings to reflect the way in which we’d moved – new logo, new branding, new reach; the latter of which that was now extending all over the South West.
This was also the year that the current Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, sought us out for a project, although it sadly never came to fruition!
2015 – Becoming Contemporary
2015 was the year when we moved into more modern buildings, making the decision to stop using timber double glazing, and switching to uPVC, bringing the range firmly into the 21st century.
And it wasn’t just the buildings that were being modernised – Jacqueline came on board to concentrate solely on marketing and capitalise on new digital techniques.
2021 – The Post-Lockdown Wave
2020 was – of course – the year that changed everything, and after a few months unable to operate, the snowball started rolling for us once more in the summer.
And it just kept rolling. A combination of pent-up demand and more working from home means that – right now, in March 2021 – we’re busier than ever.
It really has been quite a ride, and we’ve loved every minute of it. Thanks go to everyone who’s supported us over the years!