Exeter’s Market Carpets becomes employee owned

A long-established Exeter carpet and flooring specialist has become the latest retailer to become employee owned.

Market Carpets, which was set up in 1965 by Mike Burch and was run as a family concern, has followed the example of home entertainment retailer Richer Sounds and department store chain John Lewis & Partners by being placed into the hands of its workforce.

The Devon business is one of the largest flooring stockists in the South West with a warehouse holding many stock rolls of carpet and vinyl, as well as having four stores: in Exeter, Marsh Barton, Tiverton and Exmouth.

More South West retail news Vegan businesses Waterfront BID US investment Toolstation expands

It is now run by an Employee-Owned Trust (EOT) with all the firm’s 29 workers becoming shareholders of the company on January 1, 2022.

An EOT holds a permanent or long-term shareholding in a company on trust for the benefit of all the company’s employees and thus provides indirect employee ownership of a company.

A Market Carpets spokesperson said: “After researching the business structure of John Lewis and Richer Sounds, etc, the family collectively decided that they also wanted to reward their long-standing, loyal and supportive staff by giving them the opportunity to become owners themselves, by setting up their own EOT.

“All employees, from January 1, have become shareholders of the company and now have a say in the way the company operates, working together as one team to ensure Market Carpets is pushed forward as well as remaining the family-friendly firm that it has always been.”

Mike Burch’s children Gary and Simon Burch and Clair Moisob, who were directors under the previous structure, remain working in the business, along with younger family members. Market Carpets also uses the services of about 40 teams of self-employed fitters.

The spokesperson said: “It will continue with the same values that have been the core to the business for the past 57 years.”

Mike Burch started the business in 1965 after working as a carpet fitter for Waltons. The company spokesman said: “He had a van, £40 and a huge ambition to make a successful business to support his wife and five children.”

He built the company from a small store in South Street, Exeter, which then moved to Market Street in 1977. His sons Gary and Simon joined the company soon after leaving school.

Together, they expanded the business to a showroom in Exmouth and two larger stores in Tiverton and Exeter whilst growing their team of staff, and the spokesperson said: “Even though they weren’t blood related, they became part of the family.”

How to contact William Telford and Business Live

Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.

To contact William: Email: [email protected] – Phone: 01752 293116 – Mob: 07584 594052 – Twitter: @WTelfordHerald – LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com – Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/william.telford.5473

Stay in touch: BusinessLive newsletters have been re-designed to make them even better. We send morning bulletins straight to your inbox on the latest news, views and opinion in the South West. Get our breaking news alerts and weekly sector reviews too. Sign up now – it’s free and it only takes a minute. To sign up for Business Live’s daily newsletters click here

And visit the Business Live South West LinkedIn page here

Gary and Simon took over the day-to-day running of the shops, whilst Mike managed the administration, marketing, and finances of the company. As the business continued to grow, it needed more support, which is when Claire, Mike’s youngest daughter, started her career with the family business learning to manage the finances.

The company won the Exmouth Chambers’ Best Business Award 2019 and the Express & Echo Family Business Of The Year 2013 award with Mike Burch also receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

More South West investment stories £27m fundraise £2m ship purchase £4.7m for wastewater £100k gin package

William TelfordBusiness Editor, Plymouth Live