John Richards was born and raised in the Welsh border town of Churchstoke in the 1920s. By the age of 30, he was already known for buying & selling motorcycles and in 1955 he set himself up in business in Shifnal, Shropshire dealing in ex-Military surplus stock. This not only included motorcycles, but trucks, cars & Land Rovers which were to become the main stay of a family business, still bearing John’s name today. In 1960, John & his wife Joyce moved to the Smithy Cottage in Hinstock, Shropshire with their 2 children. John made the most of the land attached to the cottage to expand his stock. Using existing old farm buildings for storage and a workshop, along with rented storage and motorcycle retail facilities in Shrewsbury. The 70’s brought a dilemma for John, when the local council reclaimed his premises in Shrewsbury for road improvements. He needed more storage and bought an aircraft hangar in High Ercall for the job. He purchased ex-MOD surplus stock at auctions both around the UK and abroad and soon the storage facilities available to the company where bulging at the seams.
John’s son Andrew, joined his father in the business in 1973. He worked with his father, learning all he could about early Land Rovers which became his passion. Andrew built land rovers to use both on & off road and his own trialling vehicle, becoming well known in the local community of Land Rover enthusiasts. He accompanied his father on trips to Germany to buy Land Rovers. He also worked on the vehicles, stripping engines, rebuilding gearboxes, and doing anything else that was required to make their vehicles the best that they could offer to the public. They also complimented the ministry surplus business with pattern part spares for all models of Land Rover and Range Rover. In his turn Alistair, Andrew’s eldest son, joined the business in 1995. Land Rovers also became his passion and he developed a thorough knowledge of the subject working alongside his father.
These 3 generations worked together in partnership for 9 years until John sadly passed away at the end of 2004. It was now time for Andrew to take the reins. He set about modernising and updating, with the introduction of a card payment machine, and reorganising the structure of the company. He now set himself the task of buying in stock and gave charge of retail sales to Alistair, whilst he concentrated on trade sales & aquisitions. With the help of Andrew’s wife Nessie, a new venture was started in 2006 with the opening of an online retail shop on eBay. In 2007, the opportunity arose to diversify from vehicle spares when 2 giftware wholesale companies went into liquidation. Andrew seized the opportunity, knowing that the availability of MOD surplus goods was on the decline and that he needed to secure the future of the company in any way possible. The company’s ex-MOD stock base was still bursting at the seams however, so the giftware was set up as a subsidiary, but was sold alongside the vehicle spares on the eBay site.
In 2008, a new member of staff joined the company. Nic Howlett, John’s grandson & Andrew’s nephew, was brought in to help take some of the pressure arising from their eBay success, off the 2 main partners in the company.
5 years on, a new giftware website set up at [link removed] and yet another staff member to help on the admin side was needed. The post was filled by Alistair’s girlfriend Rachel. It was now time to start the company’s own vehicle based ecommerce shop and hopefully continue the growth which was started on eBay.Moving on
With a total of over 50 years experience between them of working on these magnificent vehicles, Andrew and Alistair have an impeccable knowledge-base of Land Rover parts and, although they no longer work on vehicles, their knowledge and experience is paramount in the smooth running of the family business. The 5 members of the John Richards team work well together and strive to give the best service possible to their customers.
John Richards is already a well-respected name not just in Shropshire, but around the world with customers in Europe, Australia and the USA. They still specialize in Land Rovers and spares for all models but the business has diversified with a move more towards general surplus & pattern goods of all kinds at very reasonable prices. They also sell Land Rover and Tractor based gifts, tools, tyres, batteries and a diverse range of products is available.
Drive it Day at The National Memorial Arboretum
4/23/17 - 4/23/17
NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM, CROXALL ROAD, ALREWAS DE13 7AR, United Kingdom
3/24/17 - 4/2/17
oldtimer tour Normandie
4/14/17 - 4/16/17
16 Route de Neufchâtel, 76660 Londinières, France