Chapter Twenty One
Out of the Ashes another reinvention of Nicks .
Nicks managment had already been toying with plans for a new retail store to the south of their site, prior to the fire in June 1987 so these plans were modified after the fire to include the new mill that was now required after the loss of the old one. Designs were drawn up for a new building to run along the fence line next to Griggs yard on the south edge of the site with offices to the front , a retail shop under the offices and a 12,000 SQFT Mill running down to the Canal. The build was designed by local architect John Gardner and would be overseen by Mr Antony Drury who employed subcontractors to do the work , and purchased the materials such as the steel frame from a customer of Nicks M D Collins of Cambridge Glos , the mill extraction cyclone came from the recently closed mill at Price Walkers at Sharpness and was delivered to the site by boat up the seven canal . At the same time the storage sheds on the north side of the site were moved closer to the new mill so clearing that half of the site completely of buildings , and the Cuprinol Treatment plant was installed , by now Tony had been made joint MD with his cousin Chris Drury so while Tony managed the building work Chris concentrated on the trading. The build was completed in 1989 and although delivered to a budget including new machines and a large investment on a fully automated planing line the under insurance on the fire meant that the company used up a lot of it’s own cash reserves and some borrowing to deliver it, leaving it slightly financially exposed as the 1990s loomed.
The new DIY -TRADE Centre however quickly took off enabling the supply of timber not only to businesses but also to develop their new retail sales of timber and related products to the general public . After much hard work, the business was beginning to prosper again until trading conditions became difficult due to the recession in the early 1990s started to bite .
In an effort to reduce their borrowings, the Drury cousins decided to sell off the now clear northern half of Canada Wharf where the old mill used to stand , by this time the need to store large volumes of stock to ensure availability through the winter months had become obsolete as the atomic-powered ice breakers were keeping the Baltic ports open allowing all year round shipping, and more stock was starting to come in through the Nordic Countries of Sweden, Finland and Norway with the new introduction of raw materials being pre kiln dried and graded SC3/SC4 in the country of origin. Nicks retained the canal bank that it rented from British Waterways which runs behind all the buisness's down the Bristol Road as far as The Cleave Group site . The rest of the site was put up for sale with Lidl Supermarkets eventually winning the bidding war and building a small Lidl supermarket and two independent retail outlets , 20 years later these would all be demolished and the large single supermarket put in its place . A historic plaque was put up by Lidl to show the history of the site at the front on the path side with images supplied by Nicks . Little did Nicks know the challenges that they would still face as the 90s unfolded and the need to once more reinvent the company yet again to keep it moving forward .