Norman Beckett began his career as a butcher's boy in Derby Market Hall for E Finney. Over the following years Norman worked as an apprentice and trained as a Master Butcher. In 1970 he opened his first of several shops.
Norman’s sons Mark and Steven both worked for their Dad after school making sausages, learning butcher’s knife skills and of course scrubbing the butcher’s block!
Mark and Steven joined their Dad in the family butcher’s business. Before long Mark with his Dad’s true entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for food, encouraged a diversification into delicatessen, groceries, cakes, biscuits and confectionary with shops and market stalls throughout Derbyshire. The Beckett family were now focussed on providing customers with value branded products. Their range started to grow and began looking nationally for the best deals.
The passion for delivering good food at great prices had really taken hold. Norman, Mark and Steven made the decision to start wholesaling. The beginnings were humble with a 500sq ft unit on Derby Wholesale Fruit & Veg Market. Over the coming months the customer numbers increased and the demand for their range of branded goods at discount prices resulted in an expansion of the business into adjacent units and the purchase of an old “bread “lorry to collect the increasing range of stock.
Consumer demand continued to increase. SOS quickly outgrew their premises and moved into the former Peart's Bakery Unit (4,500sq ft). An additional 26 tonne lorry was added to the fleet to collect an increasing range of value branded goods.
Lesley Dale was recruited to manage Sales and develop the Export Business, starting from the front room of her house. More sales staff were recruited and an office was opened in Sheffield. Barrie Turner joined as a Sales Rep and helped recruit a team of sales reps, ensuring SOS provided a personal service to an ever increasing geographical area. Barrie was immensely driven and loved the ethos of SOS so much he has only retired this year at the age of 77.
SOS Wholesale acquired a 15,000sq ft warehouse and offices to ensure we kept pace with demand but within two years the business had outgrown this space.
SOS Wholesale continued to thrive by providing a personal service, and is recognised as the UK’s premier discount delivered wholesaler. A further move to our current 70,000sq ft site in Derby allowed us the space to continue to expand.
SOS Wholesale now boasts in excess 1500 customers and over 600 suppliers. Continued awareness of changing market trends and investment in people, IT and vehicles keep us one step ahead of the competition. We are proud that both customers and staff have been with us for over 20 years.
We discovered an amazing range of catering sauces from Birmingham, Crucial Sauces. A 500ml retail range was launched with SOS Wholesale the exclusive route to market. In a short space of time these saucy sellers were on the shelves of all the popular nationwide discounters, supermarkets and independent retailers. Over 25 million bottles were sold last year!
A new fully integrated software system, Swords was purchased with a clear vision for the future. A system to increase efficiencies in warehousing along with complete visibility of our finances and operational performance, allowing the business to increase sales worldwide as the UK and export demand continued to grow, making us a truly global operation.
Later in the year, we purchased an office suite in Barnsley, South Yorkshire for our dedicated telesales and order processing team.
As a young butcher Mark made black puddings and won several medals in National competitions. Back in the 1980’s one of his local adversaries was George Stafford, who supplied black puddings to countless celebrities worldwide. In 2013 SOS seized the opportunity to purchase the award-winning George Stafford black pudding recipe. We became a Limited company employing over 100 staff.
Saw us celebrate 20 years in business. Our company party, supported by our staff, customers and suppliers raised over £20,000 which we gave to local Derby charities.
We’ve made significant investment in a brand new fleet of lorries which are due to be delivered this December. These state-of-the-art vehicles will allow us to access all the zones only vehicles with low emissions can. At SOS Wholesale we care about our carbon footprint.
We’ve also made further investment in tablet-based business tools/sales presenters for our professional Sales team to enhance customer service levels, deliver real-time information and generate greater productivity. Here at SOS Wholesale our focus and ongoing commitment is Continuous Improvement Business Strategy!