KFR Interviews…Gaiger Brothers

Juliet Singer KFR PR & Press in Conversation with James Gaiger, Director.

Gaiger Brothers Devizes… Monday 30 January 11.00.am. 

Gaiger Brothers founded in 1947 is a leading Wiltshire building contractor and property developer. Originally founded with a complement of 4 employees, today the company workforce totals 75. 

Are you a local lad born and bred in Wiltshire?

Yes born and raised in Little Cheverell and at school in Lavington followed by Cardiff University

Tell me about the very beginning; were your family entrepreneurs from birth?

I think they must have been to have created the success story of Gaiger brothers.

After James’s grandfather Joe and his 3 brothers were demobbed in 1945 at the end of WW2, they entered in to partnership together to found a building business.  All the young men had appropriate trades that would be woven in the fabric of the building company.

Nellie – your grandmother and the initial start up venture?

Nellie was born in Crossmolina, in County Mayo but had left this remote community in Ireland at the tender age of 16 to seek a better life way of life in the UK.  Nellie trained as a nurse at Roundway Hospital Devizes at the time, a psychiatric hospital, now the Green Lane Hospital where young Nellie met Joe Gaiger and married in Devizes.  

It was out of Nellie’s hard-earned wage at the mental hospital that Joe Gaiger, was able to purchase a lorry for the newly formed enterprise

A lorry was, in the late 40’s, a far-sighted entrepreneurial buy. Gaiger Brothers competitors in the local building trade were either pedalling, riding a horse, travelling on an omnibus, or walking to work! 

The bungalow in Bromham?

This was the first time we built a new house from scratch- a significant moment for the company.

Gaiger Bros also built the first private housing estate in Devizes after WW2?

Yes another first and a big contract, 15 private houses to form an estate was a significant step forward for the company. 

The Northgate Brewery site – tell me a bit about the acquisition  

In the 1950’s Gaigers bought the former Wadworth Brewery at 6 Northgate St, which at the time was a furniture store which was our base until 2018 when we bought the former Wadworth Distribution center, Kennet House- still on Northgate St. This enabled us to bring all the departments in the company onto one site, which has been a great benefit.

Gaiger Brothers purchased a large parcel of land on the outskirts of Devizes?

Another significant acquisition was the partnership with Hannick Homes when we purchased 50 acres of MOD Ministry of Defense land which became the celebrated Hopton Industrial Estate. Gaiger Brothers retained a small proportion of the units the majority being sold.

Sustainability for our precious fragile planet is important to you? How do Gaiger Brothers equate demolition and reconstruction yet strive to protect the environment?

I am fully aware of the sensitivity that surrounds building works in relation to the environment.  Concrete is high energy as are other forms of construction materials which require fossil fuels but Gaiger Brothers has achieved a landmark success and for 2 years we have been carbon neutral. This has been achieved partly through offsetting our carbon use, but we also have had to consult our suppliers, monitor our construction sites and are continuously mindful of our footprint, to this end many staff cars are electric, solar panels and air source heat pumps are installed wherever possible and appropriate.  The company are currently on a learning curve with our 9 house development in Devizes. These are the Passivhaus eco-friendly, sustainable with a no fossil fuels policy, low in energy meaning warm in winter cool in summer.

Let’s talk about the established partnership/tenancy between Gaiger brothers and the award winning Wiltshire reuse charity KFR Kennet Furniture Refurbiz?   

’’ … because no one should be without a bed to sleep on, a cooker to cook on or a sofa to sit on…’’ REUSE NETWORK 2019

 A thriving charity in the midst of an industrial estate!

I believe that our relationship with the charity KFR is strong and mutually beneficial to both parties, Gaiger Brothers have great respect for their excellent work within the local Wiltshire community.  We are appreciative that the focus of the charity assists and supports those whose lives are blighted by various forms of marginalisation.

In return KFR are grateful to James and his team who look after the charity’s interest on the Hopton Estate with care and understanding.

What is the biggest success lesson learnt in your business life? 

It is hard to pinpoint one specific lesson, but on my first day working in the offices, my uncle simply told me to treat others as I wanted to be treated and I think this was a very important lesson that underpins our companies approach.

Finally – a couple of relaxing frivolous questions?

Your hobbies? – I am a keen rugby supporter no longer playing but a coach for the local Devizes team.

Cricket – I play for Potterne cricket club

I also enjoy watching my children play various sports

Favourite Food? Has to be Mexican!

Holidays and favourite places to visit

Disneyland visits with the family and Swanage our favoured spot in the UK.

Thank you James for giving up your valuable time to be In Conversation with Juliet Singer

Contact www.gaigerbros.co.uk        Juliet Singer   www.kfr.org.uk  

01380 722412                                01380 720200