Hi-fi specialist Richer Sounds gets keys to campervan from Jerba

East Lothian-based Jerba Campervans has sold one of its vehicles to the renowned founder of fellow employee-owned firm Richer Sounds for the latter’s staff to use.

Julian Richer, founder and MD of the UK-wide hi-fi retailer, has bought a bespoke Transporter T6.1 Tiree – for use by any of its staff free of charge – from VW motorhome qualified converter Jerba.

Richer Sounds, which is 60 per cent employee-owned and involved with a number of charities, said it decided to purchase its van from a company with similar values to its own, with both firms members of the Good Business Charter group, which was set up by Mr Richer.

The campervan features a fully integrated kitchen with a two-burner hob, storage space, and a double bed. It was picked up from Jerba’s workshop by Graham Davies, stock control director at Richer Sounds, last week on Employee Ownership (EO) Day, an annual celebration organised by the Employee Ownership Association, and an occasion Jerba chose to commemorate with a staff BBQ.

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The Scottish firm has also converted its own campervan for its staff to use whenever they wish.

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Apprentice Calum Winter follows in his dad's footprints at East Lothian's Jerba ...

Mr Richer said: “It is so exciting for Richer Sounds to have bought such a fantastic campervan for everyone in the business to use.

“As an employee-owned company... every colleague has a real stake in the future of the business, and this wonderful campervan is a great example of how employees can benefit from the part they play in the company’s success.

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Tuning up? Graham Davies of Richer Sounds and David Miller of Jerba Campervans. Picture: contributed.

“To have bought the van from another employee-owned business is so exciting too. The customer service and attention to detail that we have received from Jerba Campervans has been brilliant, and it’s a delight to see employee-owned companies working so well together.”

Richer Sounds has received acclaim for its approach to employee benefits, which also include access to holiday homes across the UK, including Brighton and Dorset.

The Good Business Charter, which was founded by Mr Richer nearly three years ago, is billed as measuring and recognising responsible business practices through components such as employee wellbeing, representation, plus diversity and inclusion. Jerba, which has recently joined the charter, has been identified as “showing such commitment to its employees”.

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Shared values

Both firms have adopted an employee ownership model. Picture: contributed.

Paul Kimberlin, whose appointment as Jerba MD was confirmed earlier this month, said: “As a business that is so passionate about employee ownership, it was only right that such a similarly-valued company to ours picked up its new campervan on the day that celebrates all things EO.

“The team here at Jerba were ecstatic when they found out we had purchased a van entirely for their use. I hope that Richer Sounds’ new campervan brings its team the same joy.”

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Richer Sounds has 51 retail stores across the UK, including in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and specialises in supplying audio and visual entertainment equipment. It was founded by Mr Richer in 1978 when he opened a shop on London Bridge Walk.

In 2019 he sold 60 per cent of his shares to an employee-owned trust, a move that netted him £9.2m, although £3.5m was earmarked to go straight back to staff as loyalty bonuses, with an average payout of £8,000. Jerba was founded by Simon Poole and wife Cath in 2006, and in 2018 it adopted staff ownership.