The rise of the trade counter

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell discusses the rise in popularity of trade counters.

A recent conversation with a systems supplier revealed that it will be working more closely with trade counters this year. This was basically an acknowledgement that this route to market – targeting builders in particular – is one to be ignored at your peril. According Insight Data, more windows are installed by builders than companies that identify as window installers.

Discussions with various companies regarding the growth of trade counters highlight concerns about a potential fall in the quality in window installation, as builders are typically not as closely regulated as window installers.

For this reason, the company I was speaking to had put together a training programme to avoid potential problems. Obviously, this decision was felt to be the correct one when Stevenswood recently announced that it was on the way to opening 12 new trade centres across the UK.

The Livingston-based company currently turns over more than £35 million, has a portfolio of 38 trade centres across the UK, and employs 180 people.

It is also planning to expand the range of products and services it offers its customers, which will no doubt further increase its influence in the supply chain.

We have known for some time that the trade counter sector is one to watch, and I think 2019 will be the year that they will really start to disrupt the traditional relationships in the glass and glazing industry.