The first Thames Valley SME 100 Growth Index event took place at wine merchant Laithwaite’s showroom in Theale, organised by The Business Magazine.
The evening combined wine tasting and the inaugural awards that recognised some of the Thames Valley’s high achieving SMEs.
The newly launched Index is compiled by The Business Magazine and lists the region’s top 100 SMEs with turnover between £2m and £12m that have grown significantly in the past year.
As well as tasting some of the company’s wines, guests heard Tom Laithwaite recount how his father built up the business by selling Bordeaux wine direct to the public from a railway arch lock-up in Windsor to become a global enterprise with 800,000 customers worldwide.
“We celebrate our 50th anniversary this year and are still wholly family owned,” he said. “Our ethos is doing things beautifully and making the right decisions for the right reasons.”
A Sunday Times exposé in 1972 of underhand practices by some wine merchants prompted Tony Laithwaite to write to the newspaper explaining that merchants like him sourced products directly from vineyards to offer customers genuine quality wines.
From this, the Sunday Times Wine Club was born and Laithwaite’s business took off. Today, it operates wine clubs in the UK, US and Australia, and owns vineyards in France, Australia and Windsor Great Park.
Good customer service ensures a loyal customer base. “Our wine advisers build close relationships with every customer so they can offer them wines they will want to buy based on their preferences,” said Tom Laithwaite.
Growth Award (under £9m turnover)
Validus Risk Management
And the winner is… Rotolight