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Building a family business

Building a family business

In 1930, two jobbing builders - a father and son - set up a business offering their services around the up and coming Welsh resort town of Rhyl.

Now 86 years on, that partnership has become Anwyl Construction, one of Wales’ biggest housebuilders employing 160 people and boasting a string of over 30 prestigious industry awards to their name.

In 2016 the firm made their biggest move to date – relocating their head office from Rhyl to Ewloe, in Flintshire, setting sights for the future across the English border and specifically in Cheshire.

As Anwyl Construction embarks on its latest chapter, we speak to Managing Director, Graham Anwyl, about the history, the family and the future of this successful business.

The son and grandson of the original founders, Graham is the third generation to join the business.

He says: ‘One of our key aims for the coming years is to look further afield for bigger projects. Moving closer to the Welsh border gives the business better access to sites in the North West Powerhouse and brings us closer to Manchester and Liverpool city centres, as well as Cheshire. What’s more, our new base has given us a huge boost in office space with new facilities and room to expand.’

And expand they have, with the family’s latest venture, Anwyl Land, which launched in October 2016.

Anwyl Land is a land trading company and will focus on finding opportunities to promote land for residential and mixed-use development in partnership with landowners. The primary focus will be southern England and sites will typically range from 4 - 40 acres.

Graham adds: ‘One of the key reasons for our recent office move was to attract talent from a wide geographical area so we have the very best team in place.’

Not that the firm is forgetting its roots any time soon. Anwyl Construction’s joinery workshop remains firmly in Rhyl.

Rhyl has played a crucial role in the success of Anwyl Construction, or T Anwyl and Son Limited as it was originally known. Not only was Rhyl the firm’s base, it also provided a steady source of employees as the town’s popularity soared.

‘After the Second World War there was a considerable amount of work in Rhyl and neighbouring towns,’ says Graham. ‘We were building amusement arcades, bingo halls and cafes to cater for the growing tourist industry and we also built numerous convalescent homes and pubs.’

Graham joined the business in 1964 and by then attention had turned to the High Street where the firm had made a name for itself renovating popular shops like Marks & Spencer, Barclays and WHSmith. 

But despite huge success, by 1990 the firm refocused its efforts away from the High Street and onto the housing market.

It was during this period that Graham’s three children become the fourth generation of Anwyls to join the  family firm.

Youngest son Mathew is Housing Director, daughter Lucy is Group Financial Director and oldest child Tom is Director in charge of Contracting and Administration. Mathew’s wife Claire serves as the firm’s Marketing Manager.

Graham says: ‘As a family business we work, live and breathe it. There is a family dedication to what we are trying to do and everyone is committed to the success of the business.’

Today, the firm directly employs 160 people and works with a network of local suppliers to deliver hundreds of new residential and commercial buildings each year.

And they are pretty good at it too with scores of industry awards, including Best Small Housebuilder of the Year, to their name. 

Not one to rest on its laurels, the firm is also embarking on a plethora of new projects including two in Liverpool: a 16-storey student residence on the old National Express coach station site and they have recently submitted a planning application for 336 apartments on Pall Mall, which being 22 stories, will be the tallest building in Anwyl’s history.

But for Graham, no matter how many titles they win, for him the real joy is watching the business flourish.

He says: ‘Since its inception in 1930, Anwyl Construction has enjoyed a steady growth. It has expanded organically over the years and I am immensely proud of running a family-owned business, especially when I see my three children working harmoniously together to achieve success.’