The seeds of Harry Travis (Rishworth) Ltd were sown well over half a century ago by Harry Travis, who became a sole trader after many years experience in the milk producer\retailer supply industry.He began by selling many of the items we still supply, namely milk bottles, milk bottle caps, detergents, milk round books, egg cartons, protective clothing, boots, wellington boots, brushes, bottle washers, bottle fillers and spares. Milk filters and cooling equipment, wash troughs. Orange juice and fruit flavour drinks.
The first twelve years saw the expansion of the company from that of sole trader to Harry Travis with 3 full time employees and a part time accounts lady. Grass seed became established as one of our constant items of supply.
By the early nineteen seventies the number of employees had grown to six, and with the acquisition of the business of John Gledhill the greater breadth of services was increasing to include silage and hay making machinery, as well as the milking machine business that was expanding quickly. Silage sheets, bags and baler twine also became seasonal favourites.
It was during this period of expansion that Kevin Hamer, and later Tony Friend, joined the staff. Other staple products in our range were added and expanded. Electric fencing, gates of all types, ordinary fencing, weed killers and animal medicines began to feature in our stores.
In 1981 Mark Travis joined his father in the business and the decision was taken to become a limited company. It was also at this time that milk processing equipment became part of the stock in trade of the business. The decision was taken to computerise the accounts system.
The early 1980’s brought Nigel Webster, and later Bob Watson, onto the staff.
The demand for semi-skimmed milk began and our range was expanded to include homogenisers and cream separators. Jim Brunning joined the company to improve greatly the cover in the area of milker installations.
The early 1990’s saw the company expanded operations by acquiring the shop in Otley with the help of Tony Friend and Jim Brunning. The appointment of Keith Wainwright as Animal Medicines expert at Otley made a unit that expanded to cover ironmongery and fire place iron work due to our takeover of the residual stock of the local ironmonger in Otley and the closure of West Cumberland Farmers’ Otley branch.
Sadly, Frank Travis, brother of Harry Travis, died in May 1996. Although he had worked with the company for many years he had maintained his own accounts and it was pleasing to his widow and daughter that the vast majority of his customers transferred their business to Harry Travis (Rishworth) Ltd.
The turn of the century saw the problems of BSE coupled with foot and mouth disease further decimating the agricultural industry. Despite this the company continued to expand and 2001 brought in the capability to manufacture pre-formed milk bottle tops. This coincided with the demise of one of the company’s competitors, Carters of Huddersfield, and the purchase of their residual stock.
Pat Harwood joined the company to look after the book-keeping and sales ledger side of the business. Since then she has passed her exams and become a SQP capable of prescribing Animal Medicines.
Neil Mitchell joined the staff to help with the expanding engineering side of the business and who is very experienced in dairy farming.
The computerised account systems of Otley branch and the head office at Rishworth were united. In 2006 the web site was launched and Harry Travis decided that it was time for him to step down as a director of the company. Later that year Martyn Gascoyne joined our branch in Otley. After many years of good and faithful service Bob Watson retired. In July of the same year Michelle Walton joined the staff at Rishworth.
We took a momentous decision in 2008 to move the Head Office two miles down the road to Ripponden.
The upheaval of this was a strain on staff and customers alike but it was well worth while the effort to get some flat land where a forklift could be used and enough space to be able to service the needs of our customers more efficiently.
Kevin Hamer our longest serving employee decided to move from full time to part time work.
To complete the final part of our refurbishment of our premises we had the yard resurfaced which has been boon for everyone.
Josh Metcalfe was employed under the Apprentice Scheme a first for the company. Later in the year Jeff Moss a very experienced Wagon Driver joined us to look after the delivery side of the company.