Located in the picturesque village of Peasmarsh near Guildford, Surrey, arboricultural equipment supplier Honey Brothers unveiled its brand new store and showroom in early 2020, which looks set to be a hub of all things arb for professionals in the south-east and beyond. The company recently hosted an open day to launch the new site in style and here essentialARB takes a look at the action.

Forestry Journal: Honey Brothers owners Martyn Day and Stuart Girdler.Honey Brothers owners Martyn Day and Stuart Girdler.

FOUNDED by Peter and Tony Honey in 1955 on the site of a former abattoir, the business started out specialising in tree surgery. It was not until at least two decades later that Honey Brothers ventured into retail.

Honey Brothers is now owned by Martyn Day and Stuart Girdler, long-serving members of staff who took over in 2007. The pair have grown the retail business to where it is today, supplying arb kit – from ropes, carabiners and harnesses to boots, helmets and everything in between – the world over.

“Aside from the UK, Japan, Australia and America are our biggest markets,” Martyn Day told essentialARB. “We also regularly ship to Sweden and other European countries. We have a very good relationship with UPS, so we are able to offer competitive pricing and sometimes it is cheaper for someone in America to buy from us and have it shipped, than it is to actually buy the product in America itself.”

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However, Honey Brothers’ global reach doesn’t mean the business has lost the local touch, as evidenced by the new store and showroom. Standout features of the new shop include a dedicated area to try out ropes and large displays that allow customers to get hands-on with products.

“Our customers needed somewhere to come and view our large range of products and try them out. Everyone always says everything’s online, but the shop is always busy. It’s a destination store, it’s not on the high street; you drive to come here, probably with something in mind to buy,” Martyn went on.

“With this industry, people will buy stuff they know online, but if there’s something new, it’s very useful for people to come in and try it out. We get a lot of college students that come in and buy their first kit here, and for them it’s a big purchase, so to be able to come in and try stuff on before they buy it, it is much better than buying online and being unsure.

“People can come in, try the gear, try harnesses on and climb up the ropes and actually test it out.”

Forestry Journal: Customers are able to try out harnesses in-store.Customers are able to try out harnesses in-store.

The Honey Brothers team of 25 includes in-house rope splicer, Lee Cole, and former professional arborist turned sales manager, Andrew Wood (Woody), and having staff with first-hand industry experience and a wealth of knowledge has been greatly beneficial to the business.

“It’s so valuable having them,” Martyn said. “People know who they are and that they work here, so they’ll come in and have a chat with them. That’s a big selling point for us because we can give advice and recommend products.

“Woody has worked for various arb companies and having that knowledge is essential for us to give customers that advice.”

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Now, with the new store in place, it’s quite simply a case of the business sticking to what it knows and offering great service. “If we don’t have a product on our website, we always do our best to source it and give the customer exactly what they need. Service is always key,” Martyn added.

Honey Brothers launched its new store in style with an open day on Friday 13 March, featuring a host of suppliers such as ECHO, Husqvarna, Stihl, DMM, Petzl, Outwear, Arbortec and Fletcher Stewart, which proved to be a big success.