DURING the 60s and 70s, boarded up properties across the North East often used to bear the distinctive slogan "Wadds Was Here".
More than 45 years after the company’s first glass repair job, the company’s current owners are keen to remind people that they’re still around.
The firm was set up by John M Wadds in 1964 to handle emergency glazing work and became a well-known name in the region, even appearing in the Viz comic. It was bought by Greenberg Glass during the nineties, but the Liverpool company went into administration in 2008.
It is now operating under Glasgow-based parent company Transformation Enterprises and is reclaiming its old identity under a North East-born chairman.
Wadds sells domestic and commercial glass to both trade and the general public, ranging from shop fronts to mirrors.
Chairman Eric Foster remembers seeing the Wadds brand dotted around the area during his childhood in South Shields.
He said: “I’m 49 now, and when I was a kid I remember the Wadds name and I remember knowing what it meant. Anyone over 30 in the region remembers Wadds as the glass people.
“Greenberg had the Wadds business but didn’t market the name, which led to people thinking it didn’t exist anymore. We know the impact of the Wadds name in the North East of England.”
Foster spent nine years working for a company in Jarrow before being headhunted by Darby Group to head up its glassmaking operation in Ayrshire in 1989. He has returned to the North East to help restore the brand to its former fame.
From its Team Valley base, the company can manufacture its own glass and can also fall back on two group facilities in Scotland. If it boards up or temporarily glazes a property during the night, it guarantees it will replace the glass the next morning.
He said: “We’re in an industry that’s price sensitive but when you mention a name like that you can lift yourself above the pulpit. We have a good chance of expanding the business and we hope to be able to increase the staff to 20 very quickly.
“The company offers value for money and a great product, as well as a name which people have been able to trust for 40 years.”
Managing director Alex Gray is a director in Transformation Enterprises, and says the company was keen to acquire Greenberg’s North East business before it went into administration. The company currently employs 14 people and has a turnover of £1.4m.
He said: “We felt that Greenberg had neglected the Wadds name in favour of its own brand and the identity had suffered somewhat. Since then it’s been quite successful and continued to grow.
“We’ve got a radio campaign until the end of the year, set up a billboard in the city centre and launched a new website which is constantly being updated. We want the name on everyone’s lips again.”