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Read Brothers – Four decades of business success

todaySeptember 7, 2021


Read Brothers Ltd is a well-established timber merchant in Norwich that has built up an enviable reputation over the last 40 years, having prided itself on providing a professional and speedy service whilst maintaining the highest quality of work and products. 

A supplier of softwoods, hardwoods and timber-based sheet materials, Read Brothers is also a market leader in timber engineering, specialising in the design and manufacture of trussed rafter roofs, easi-joist® metal web floors and timber frame buildings.

Having worked for a national chain of timber merchants for 25 years it was always the ambition of Ray Read to run his own timber company but unfortunately he would never get to after he died suddenly in 1980. However, his sons Steve, Brian, Jon and Glenn and wife Betty fulfilled that dream and began trading from the current site in 1981.

From a humble start, Read Brothers Ltd grew sufficiently for Mallison Denny (Malden) to buy the business from the family in 1988. With the demise of the Malden group, the brothers were able to buy back the company in 1992 and refocus the business on being a traditional timber merchant with the design and manufacturing of trussed rafter roofs, metal web floor joists and more recently timber frame buildings.

Sadly Steve Read, who was Managing Director of Read Brothers, passed away in 2016 after a brave battle with cancer aged 63 and after 35 years of management. Brother Brian took the role of Managing Director with support from fellow directors: brother Jon and Steve’s son Matthew.

Today even more of the Read family have joined the flourishing team. What was simply brothers now sees the next generation striving forward and committing to the family firm.  In date order: Steve’s son Matthew joined the family firm back in 1994 (Director), Steve’s son-in-law Daniel in 2007 (Senior Truss designer), Brian’s daughter Claire in 2013 (Operations Manager), Brian’s son Christopher in 2016 (Truss designer), Steve’s daughter-in-law Alexandra in 2018 (Accountancy), Jon’s grandson Jack in 2020 (Sales), and Steve’s daughter Donna in 2020 (Marketing).  

“This is very much a local, family business but it’s not just the family,” says MD, Brian Read. “We have some incredibly loyal and skilled employees in every department without whom we would not be where we are now.”

The past 18 months has been a testing time for all and since being forced to close for six weeks during the first lockdown Read Brothers have been fortunate to be part of an industry that has bounced back quickly. Despite challenges such as reduced staff due to Covid isolations, timber supply shortages and rapidly increasing material costs, the company has continued uphold their levels of quality and service.

The company continues to go from strength-to-strength with turnover this year approaching £7m and the family is sure Steve would be elated with the continued success and the commitment from all the staff for making Read Brothers what it is today.

Read Brothers continues to strive forward looking at developments and improvements to continue being one of the leading timber suppliers and manufacturers in East Anglia.

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