Alan Redman has spent his entire working life in the cash and carry business – 28 years, to be exact, and counting. It’s a business that the 44-year-old general manager of Batleys’ depot in Cardiff knows well – and clearly loves (almost as much as Bristol City, the team he supports with a passion).

Most of Redman’s career has been spent with Nurdin & Peacock. He was managing its Keynsham depot when Booker took over the business. But when Batleys opened its new depot in the Welsh capital six years ago Redman says he jumped at the chance of a new challenge. He joined as wine and spirits manager and has worked his way up the ranks, becoming general manager in February.

Redman leads a team of 85 people who keep the depot running 66 hours a week – opening at 7am every day except Sunday (when it opens at 8am). He’s supported by his deputy Andrew Deacon and number three Charlotte Hext – both of whom, like Redman, have come through the ranks. “Our philosophy is to promote from within. It’s good because people know there’s a career for them here,” says Redman. “Batleys looks after its staff and looks after its customers. Our standards and service are second to none.”

That’s vital in a city where competition has always been fierce – Batleys C& C is trading against two Booker depots, Bestway and BA. “The competition is good for our customers and it keeps us on our toes,” says Redman.
Customers come from far afield as Cardiff is a major draw for retailers in neighbouring towns and up the valleys. The depot also has a unique selling point in the battle for customers – its expertise in pet products, with a dedicated store within the depot that draws in specialist retailers. They include one loyal customer in the Republic of Ireland to whom orders are regularly dispatched!
Redman says the mood among retailers is generally buoyant, not least because trade in Cardiff has become busier as the city is redeveloped. But also, he says, those trading in small communities benefit from a loyal custom base. “People do tend to support their local shops and that’s good for business.”