Stanton garden shop on the move after decades

Sally Cotton and Robbie Foulger are Trip Batt's longest serving staff
Sally Cotton and Robbie Foulger are Trip Batt's longest serving staff
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A country business which has employed hundreds of local people since it began shortly after Word War Two, is on the move.

Tripp Batt, based in Stanton, will close the doors of its current store on December 15 before moving to its sister site at Marlows Home and Garden Centre in Bury St Edmunds.

A Tripp Batt staff photo from the 1980s

A Tripp Batt staff photo from the 1980s

The garden machinery business, which was founded originally by Francis Tripp and Peter Batt in 1949, has employed hundreds of people over the years on both its retail and former industrial arms, including draughtsmen, engineers, welders and fabricators.

Local families often provided more than one generation of employee and three current employees – Sally Cotton, Alison Tunbridge and Robbie Foulger – are still with the company after being hired by the original founders in the 1960s and 1970s.

Along with long-time employee Carol Cross, a stores assistant, they have clocked up 172 years of service between them.

“Tripp Batt has been like being part of a big family,” 
said Sally, who joined the administration department in 1967.

The orginal Sturgeon Brothers site which Francis Tripp and Peter Batt took over in 1949

The orginal Sturgeon Brothers site which Francis Tripp and Peter Batt took over in 1949

“I have worked with over a hundred people in my time and also seen generations of customers visit the business over the years.

“The shop was only small when I started, selling things such as galvanised dustbins, agricultural oil and baler twine.

“The workshop though was always busy and Tripp Batt also helped pioneer the building of grain stores throughout East Anglia and the south east.”

Francis Tripp and Peter Batt originally took the business over from Sturgeon Brothers, makers of agricultural machinery and steam engines.

They continued the work of the company in the agricultural sector and broadened it to include equestrian, maltings and food processing .

At its peak, it employed fabricators, electricians and carpenters and constructed Tripp Batt’s engineering department. The Tripp Batt shop evolved over time into the general hardware and garden machinery dealership it is now, employing 12 people.

As farmers and the rural community began to require hand-held machines, clothing and other general items, Tripp Batt became a main local supplier.

In the last ten years the business has grown such that a new location at Marlows Home and Garden Centre, in Bury, was needed.

“I started in 1974 and was at school with Sally, so we knew each other already,” said Alison Tunbridge, a director.

“I would just like to say thanks for the loyalty of the farming community and customers who were all part of the Tripp Batt family, too.”

Tripp Batt were bought by the family-owned Con Mech Group in the 1980s but kept the Tripp Batt name .

The engineering and industrial side of Tripp Batt closed in 2015 with the garden machinery business taking over.

“I joined in 1965 in the workshop and also worked on the grain stores,” said Robbie Foulger, 67.

“The move is sad for Stanton but I am sure the Tripp Batt name will live on as it has done for nearly seven decades.”