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A worldwide freight business started in a family home 17 years ago has seen its annual sales break through the £6 million mark.
On the up:
Ross Negus, Managing Director, Southampton Freight Services (third right) and Chris Negus, Financial Director (right) with Martin Aldridge, Director, Princecroft Willis (second right), and some of the SFS team.
Ross Negus, Managing Director, Southampton Freight Services, with the glass topped boardroom table made of pallets.
Family owned Southampton Freight Services (SFS) was launched by former dock runner Dave Negus and his sons Ross and Chris in 1998.
Now run by Ross, Managing Director, and Chris, Financial Director, the freight forwarding company employs almost 30 staff.
It operates across the globe handling everything from fresh fruit, furniture and luxury cars through to toys and Christmas decorations.
"Just about everything which can go by air, sea and road has been handled by our import and export teams to every part of the world," explained Ross.
"The business has expanded tremendously over the years but we're proud to still have some of our original customers.
"We're also fortunate to have a great team, some of whom have been with us from the early days. It's a cliché but they really are our biggest asset."
In May SFS moved its operations into new 19,000 sq ft premises on Totton's Griffin Industrial Park.
The £500,000 expansion was funded by HSBC, Local First, Eastleigh Borough Council, Green Growth Loans and the Hampshire Community Bank project.
The facility, which includes two warehouses, has won rave reviews for its unique interior and use of old containers.
Freight Business Journal, the influential trade newspaper, described it as having the 'Wow' factor, headlining its report 'Freight can be cool.'
Ross said: "The building gives a real sense of what we're about. The designer and our office fit-out specialists, New Milton-based Space & Solutions, have done a fantastic job."
Novel features include a 20 ft container converted into an informal meeting space with a built-in fish tank; wall art detailing time zones from the West Coast of America through to Sydney, Australia, and a glass topped boardroom table made from pallets.
A staff relaxation area includes a second 20 ft container, painted and converted into a fully fitted/integrated kitchen area, complete with pool table, while glass frames elsewhere in the offices house scale models of aircraft and ships.
Ross said that SFS was reaping the benefits from a carefully planned growth strategy with sales up 14 per cent year on year.
He paid tribute to the company's accountancy firm, Princecroft Willis, and its director Martin Aldridge for being an "absolute rock" over the years.
"The financial side is critical. Martin and his team do a tremendous job keeping a close check while allowing us to concentrate on the actual business of getting freight from A to B. We're in safe hands," added Ross.
6 October 2015