Westgate Group has evolved significantly from its humble beginnings and is proud to be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Starting door to door with samples of window film, today Westgate have a recognised multinational client base across their three divisions; Westgate Factory Dividers, Site Segregation and Solar Control.
Founded in 1977 by Derick Gates, the initial business was Westgate Solar Control and was run out of the family home in Stafford. Ever the savvy businessman, Derick soon realised that mailshots were a much simpler, more time and cost-effective way of marketing than going door to door. Potential customers were provided with a small sample of window film and it is boasted that “many of these could be seen stuck to the windows of local companies” as people tested out the solution.
The investment paid off and the company’s very first job was installing an anti-fade window film in a local shoe shop. The job wasn’t without a few hiccups though. Mr Gates was quite the perfectionist and actually installed, removed and re-installed the film a few times to make sure it was just right. His demand for perfection actually meant that by the time he was satisfied with the job, he only just broke even!
Thankfully, the installation process of Westgate’s window films is a lot quicker and smoother now.
The precision of Mr Gates’ work meant that by 1980, the company was able to move to its first official business premise and even got its first company van - a Ford Escort!
Due to the seasonal nature of the solar control products, it was in 1981 that Westgate decided to branch out into supplying and installing industrial partitioning (Flexiwall and Flexiscreen being the main products) and Westgate Factory Dividers was born.
This extra faction of the business and the continued growth of the company, meant that in 1987, Westgate moved into larger premises. This didn’t last long though, as just five years later the company had grown so much, it had to move to even bigger premises to cope with demand.
In 2000, Westgate was lucky enough to be in a position to set up a non-government funded school with a few other businesses. Westgate provided the premises and trustee advice, absolutely free of charge and the scheme still continues today.
The third division of the company, Westgate Site Segregation, was launched in 2005 along with the very first Hoardfast range. Interestingly, Hoardfast (an internal hoarding system) had originally started life as a manufactured chip board idea but ended up being the PVC range that, with some alterations along the way, still exists today.
Two years later, and with all three divisions of the company up and running, Westgate Group moved into the property on Verulam Road in Stafford. The same premise that they currently reside in today.
Having built the entire company from the ground up, Derick Gates sadly died in 2009, leaving a fantastic 32 year-legacy in the very capable hands of Gerrard, John and Edward; who had been working in the business for over 20 years.
It was during this time that the company, like so many others across the country, was hit hard by the recession. Despite these hard times, the brothers weathered the storm and the company just about managed to break even.
From this point, recalling their father’s determination for the business to succeed, they strived to put everything into turning the business back around after the economic downturn and making it the success it is today.
After investing in marketing, product development and its team of people, Westgate Group continues to grow. It has a diverse range of clients all over the country and even as far afield as Iceland.
As of 2017, Westgate’s vision and mission has been adapted to suit a customer focused business and research and development continues to be featured heavily in future plans.