Packing a punch: The Smiths; two generations of passion and tenacity that has grown ERMS to be the industry best that it is today. Along with a pretty fabulous team.
- 1986: Ian Smith and Adrian Troost get together with the sound idea of launching a small fresh produce packing company. ERMS UK Ltd was born. Starting out in his front room, the company quickly expands to offices in St Ives. Here’s where Ian says thanks to a grape. Because thanks to his innovative introduction of the Seedless Grape – the first ever in the UK – today it’s a standard product variety often found gracing the big cheeses.
- 1989: Business grows well; the company expands again, this time to a purpose built unit of 15000 sq ft in Witchford, Ely. Three short, yet rather successful years later sees ERMS rent the next door building. Another 15000 sq ft. Expansion is in the blood; relationships with fruit growers around the world are built and prove a key element to future success. Always looking for ways to give more, Ian adds product category management service to retailers with a 24/7/365 offering. Another brand new concept welcomed with open arms by supermarkets. ERMS just grows and grows.
- 2000: The future is bright (and decidedly orange thanks to the range of citrus). Off ERMS goes again to larger premises but now with a view to buy and build. A packhouse and four cold stores in Chatteris rise from the 50000 sq ft extension, thoughtfully named Frans House after Adrian Troost’s father. Ian’s son, Martyn, joins the business to follow in the patriarchal footsteps and learns quickly the ingredients for success; cheery attitude and plain hard work.
- March 2007: Second major extension completed, adding 50% more warehouse space and an additional large cold store. Frans House now has a capacity of 82000 sq ft. With impressive state-of-the-art architecture, this attractive yet highly functional building is an example of what hard work and passion for produce can bring.
- September 2007: With tremendous success in the fresh fruit business, opportunity arises to expand into different product ranges. An older but similarly sized 10 acre site across from Frans House becomes available. With 3 large buildings and plenty of hard standing, ERMS acquires it. A further 160000 sq ft of offices, warehouses and cold stores are now available to fulfil welcome growing demands. Thoughtfully named Ronald House after Ian’s father.
- 2011: 25th Anniversary. Magic, merriment and a Bond-style celebration in a grand marquee on ERMS’ land. Staff, suppliers, retailers and partners celebrated in style with poignant speeches from Ian and Adrian. A nod to the past and a clear bow to the future.
- 2013: It’s all about the game. ERMS sponsors the 2nd and 3rd kits of Cambridge United FC. After just one season, the team won the FA Trophy playing at Wembley Stadium in the ERMS kit. Pride!
- 2014: Today the trumpets sound as ERMS thrives like never before. Is it the rich Cambridgeshire terrain? Or the skill to not only weather change, but to use change for the better. “We love what we do and we have a fine team of people who help us get the best for everyone,” smiles Ian Smith. “Working alongside family is a bonus …most of the time. Working in the fresh produce industry is a privilege. Treat others as you would like to be treated is an adage that has travelled well with us, and we look forward to the next generation of Smiths joining a team of whom Martyn and I are very proud.”