Laidler’s is very much a family run business. From our headquarters in Double Row, Seaton Delaval, we deliver and supply fresh high quality produce to the North of England and beyond.
It’s very much a 24-hour operation and a real team effort to ensure we get the freshest fruit and vegetables and highest quality products at the best possible price.
Laidler’s currently employs around 28 people and has trusted suppliers from throughout the UK and abroad.
We are proud to be a North East company and operate as a responsible member of the local community.
Laidler’s is one the leading lights in the North East fruit and vegetable trade, boasting a huge array of products and a fleet of delivery vans to get those goods to your business.
But the modern company you see today, under the stewardship of owner Harry Laidler, is a far cry from its humble beginnings back in 1913.
King George V was on the throne and Scott of the Antarctic was within days of finding the South Pole when the Laidlers took their first steps in the fruit and vegetable trade.
James William Shell, Harry’s great grandfather, started the business when he took over a market garden and dairy in New Hartley, near Seaton Delaval.
It was a family business where everyone chipped in, this included his daughter and her husband James Henry Laidler.
When the First World War broke out, Harry’s great grandfather fought for king and country, seeing action in the battlefields of The Somme.
Back home the family stuck to their guns building up Laidler’s reputation in the community. Harry’s granddad James William Laidler worked in the business, passing on his skills to Harry’s dad James Henry Laidler.
The company survived two World Wars and, in the early days, produce from the gardens was sold to the local villages by horse and cart. It wasn’t until 1956, that Harry’s dad had bought their first new Bedford van.
In 1979 the market garden closed to make way for a new housing development and the business moved to the site on which the company still stands today.
At the weekends and after school, Harry would stay with his grandfather at the new warehouse while his dad was out with the wagon.
At the age of 11, he put a sign on the pavement outside of the premises advertising sacks of potatoes for sale. By the time Harry was 14, he had a busy fruit and vegetables stall inside the warehouse.
By summer, Harry opened his retail shop in his dads warehouse, on Saturday’s only. Using his old scales and a tin box for the money.
His dad continued to deliver fruit & vegetable to customers’ homes every day as he had done all his life. His ‘wholesale’ day was every Wednesday when local shops came to the warehouse to buy in bulk.
At 15 years old, Harry bought his first new electronic scales – before this he used to weigh on old fashioned balance scales. By June he bought his first electronic till – a ‘Gold 101’. Prior to this he would add up in his head just as his dad taught him.
By 1984, Harry’s stall became so busy he had to take on more staff cope with the queues. Within three years the shop employed 10 staff and it was not long before Harry was asked if he could deliver his goods to the door. It marked the birth of Laidler’s wholesale delivery business.
Over the years Laidler’s has developed and grown by listening to its customers and responding to their needs.
Laidler’s Retail shop was one the busiest in the North East of England, open just Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s. There are 7 staff on tills serving 9am until 6pm non-stop and 4 staff filling the stall. Average wait to be served was 30 mins. Longest recorded wait was Christmas 1990 – 3 hours 45 mins!
Harry’s dad takes a step back from the business and they become a limited company with both himself and his wife, Dawn as directors.
Laidler’s purchase their first 18 ton truck.
By 2000 the company had purchased additional premises adjacent the existing warehouse to cope with the extra capacity required for the expanding business.
We now have a mixed fleet of 16 vehicles ranging from 1.5 ton to 18 ton – both temperature controlled and ambient. We can cater for any size order – large or small. Laidler’s area is now from Berwick to the North, to Durham to the South, to Hexham to the west. Daily deliveries, even on all spring and summer bank holidays. Sundays though, are a day of rest!
The company may be a huge operation now, but it still upholds the traditional values on which Laidler’s was founded 101 years ago.