A FORMER farming student who built his small warehousing company into a multi-million pound empire is celebrating record online sales – through selling unwanted stock on eBay.
Stephen Basey-Fisher set up his business, Century Logistics, from a 400 square foot disused abattoir in Beccles 15 years ago.
Since then, he has expanded the business gaining major warehousing contracts including Dorel – the largest nursery product manufacturer in the world.
Five years ago, Stephen’s ground-breaking company moved into e-commerse and online sales, selling unwanted and depreciating stock through eBay.
This move has seen the company dramatically expand with a near 50 per cent rise in sales since July, taking £90,000 from eBay sales alone.
Stephen said the recession had actually helped his business as it had made other companies look more closely at where they were leaching money.
He said: “My wife and I started the company in a small warehouse that used to be an abattoir doing work for Bernard Matthews about 15 years ago.
“Our big break came 10 years ago with a contract from Dorel, the world’s largest baby goods company, who let us take control of 50 per cent of their warehousing.
“After the first year they gave us their whole UK distribution and we have continued to expand.
“We have managed to stay growing through the recession as it has made many companies look at where they can make savings.
“We use eBay to sell old stock that would have just been stuck in the warehouse depreciating in value.
“It would have either been sold on a job lot or been chucked out.
“Through eBay we can get businesses from 25 to 80 per cent of the recommended retail price for their old unwanted goods.
“I realise a lot of people and businesses have been hit hard so it has been a pleasant surprise how well we have done from the recession.”
Last year the company moved to a massive 140,000 square foot warehouse in Bury St Edmunds, bringing more than 20 jobs to the area.
It has expanded to cover customer service and repairs and holds contracts with major furniture, cosmetics and shop dressing companies.
Stephen said in the world of business you can’t stand still.
He said: You can never be complacent in business but you have got to retain your core business and look ahead.
“The eBay side of the company is very exciting but we need to get more staff like programmers and graphic designers to work on the website. eBay is very different when you are selling thousands of products.”