George Davies Turf may now be widely recognised as one of the leading turf suppliers in the country, but the business has taken enormous strides since 2001. This page is dedicated to showing you our story so far; right from the early stages when we had just the one lorry and fewer clients. We feel it's time to show our customers our story along with some photographs that we've held on to down the years. It's only by looking at these images whereby you can begin to realise just how far we've come and hopefully we'll have plenty more to add to our story in the future.
The story all started on Valentine’s Day when George signed his contract to start selling turf under the franchise banner of Scenic Blue Turf. The love affair has been going strong ever since… Delivering using his trusty Peugeot 306 with a small trailer on the back capable of carrying 40 rolls of turf at a time. She did a lot of hard miles and had 3 clutches in the time that George had her on the road.
November 2001 The Mighty Merc 811D joined the ranks and increased delivery capacity from 40 rolls at a time to 220 rolls. This jump from a car to a 7.5t lorry allowed the business to grow and take on board larger clients and contracts to which George could apply his customer first based service. Although the turf was put on the lorry with a forklift, George was still handballing every delivery off the truck at its destination. Who needs a gym membership when you have a fledgling turf business??
Scenic Blue Turf run by George Davies becomes….
GEORGE DAVIES TURF
In 2003 George wanted to go his own way, and George Davies Turf was born. The logo was function over form, but it was again the start of bigger and brighter things for George and his company.
George expanded his capacity again, buying GDT’s first HGV, a 26t Volvo in a fetching bright red that would accidentally become our calling card. This truck came equipped with a lorry mounted Moffett forklift truck and allowed George to service Golf Courses delivering turf from the car parks right out onto the fairways and tees on the course. We could now deliver 720 at a time and we kept running the Mercedes for smaller domestic deliveries. George also upgraded the yard truck to something a bit beefier to assist with the larger workloads.
George Davies Turf becomes a Limited Company. It was another milestone that moved us up in the industry. George was carving out a niche for himself, being able to offer flexibility and world class customer service to his clients. But there was always a thought that we weren't offering the complete package for a new lawn.
George was very proud to start offering bagged products to all his customers including topsoil and landscaping bark. This meant that he could supply all materials for a new lawn and make sure that his customers were getting the very best products coupled with the very best service.
2008 saw George Davies Turf LTD take new strides in the industry. Our lorries up until this point had been second hand and we were asking a lot of them. Delivering Turf & Topsoil all around the midlands and the south east of England meant that they were covering a lot of miles and in order to off the reliability that our service levels demand George invested in a brand new larger lorry. George’s first Scania joined the fleet. It was a 32t Scania R420 capable of carrying 960 rolls of turf with a brand new Manitou forklift truck mounted on the back. He doubled down on the red and made sure the forklift and the truck matched!
George Davies Turf LTD became a multi depot operation. George opened his St Albans Branch. This allowed George to service the North London area easily and opened up a whole new customer base for GDT. It also opened up a trunk corridor between Milton Keynes and St Albans which allowed us to criss-cross the area every single day meaning we had a flexible dynamic delivery service giving us an edge over our competitors.
Traditionally George had taken all the orders himself, talking to his customers over the phone and making sure they got all the information they needed to feel like they could grow the perfect lawn. But he realised he couldn’t be everywhere and developed a new website which could be an information resource for his growing customer base as well as another way for orders to be placed.
More customers, more depots, and a new website means we needed more capacity, so George invested in another new lorry with another new forklift on the back. There was a hosepipe ban that year and this meant that deliveries had to be timely and GDT’s customer service, communication and deliveries needed to be absolutely on point. Our deliveries go out and hit their 2 hour ETA’s 98% of the time!
Despite the hosepipe ban 2012 was a busy year and in the spirit of keeping things moving and not letting down our customers George bought a spare lorry. This was to help make sure that if the worst was to happen we had the infrastructure in place to still deliver on the promises we made to our customers. We think you'll agree she sat nicely into the fleet.
Emissions and further future regulation with regard to cycling meant that GDT needed to freshen the equipment up on the fleet to service the London area. The 15 plate was the first GDT lorry to have to have a EURO 6 rated engine allowing it travel in the new expanded Ultra Low Emission Zones in London. She was decked out in the now familiar red livery and opened up additional capacity in the GDT Fleet.
We purchased our first articulated lorry so that we could be in charge of the haulage chain all the way from the field to our customers driveways. This level of control of the logistics give you full confidence that when we say your turf is going to turn up at an allotted time; it will turn up at that time! This is shot of her coming back from one of our fields in Mildenhall after a hard days work.
For a long time we had thought that we could apply our unique service levels to other products for our customers and in 2016 we found the perfect pairing. We became stockists of Millboard decking, and soon we were offering their premium products with our premium delivery service levels throughout our patch from London to Birmingham. However since then we have shipped Millboard from Cornwall to Scotland and have even sent some to Australia before Millboard themselves started exporting.
Up until this point every order had been hand written in duplicate and triplicate format using pen and paper. We now had the ability to process orders digitally which opened up further capacity for GDT and allowed a greater synchronisation between our two depots.
Our customers asked and we answered, we are passionate about natural turf, but if we were to do artificial we were going to do it right. George went to Belgium to see the very best grasses and to understand how they were made in order to make sure the grasses we had to offer were the very best.
Since then our range has grown from 3 to 10 and we now offer a grass that is 100% recyclable and another that doesn't allow bacteria or fungi to grow on it.
We decided the old FM9 had run her course with GDT after driving about 750000kms under our banner. We replaced her with a brand new Volvo FM9 which soon started earning her keep delivering to our customers. This lorry was the first one to have an all around camera recording system and a window in the passenger door to allow the driver to see cyclists easier on the near side of the lorry.
The artic had done just over 1.2m kms and in order to keep the runs from the field to our depots as regular as clockwork GDT invested again in a nearly new Volvo artic and trailer combination and she started running immediately between Grantham and Olney in our striking red colours. This would ensure our logistics chain from field to customer would be stronger than ever, you can see here her pulling out of one of the fields looking very smart.
2020 saw the arrival of Covid and with so many people being at asked to stay at home and with GDT being part of the logistics supply chain we needed another lorry on the road to keep up with demand. With yet further tighter rules in London with the introduction of the Direct Vision Standard, we asked for a brand new lower Scania P cab. With camera’s all round and a smart system that detects hazards down the near side with audible alarms in the cab.
Over the years GDT has gained an authority within the industry for turf We wanted to grow the same sort of voice within the topsoil sector and as such Ultimate Topsoil was born. It’s the same ethos as George Davies Turf, where we have sourced the very best products in the country and applied our high class customer service to them.
2021 saw another Scania P 410 arrive to meet a growing demand for deliveries in London. We had to wave goodbye to George’s first Scania the 08 plate as she had done around 900000kms for GDT and she was sold to start her second life as a sheep and cattle transport in the West Country.
George Davies Turf has been through many evolutions of the last 20+ years, George has remained at the forefront of the business, making sure that we are always pushing the boundaries of what everyone else says is possible. We decided it was time to align our branding, we had blue uniforms, a green logo, and red lorries. So we decided to freshen things up and design a new logo and exciting modern livery for our trucks.
It seemed the right thing to do to see in the new branding with not one but TWO brand new Scania P 410’s. They are personalised to their drivers and we hope that Waldek and Darren enjoy driving them as much as we did designing them. Safer than ever, cleaner than ever, and more efficient than ever means that the GDT fleet keeps on rolling into 2023 and beyond.
1.4 million rolls of turf a year, 8 lorries on the road doing up to 20000 timed deliveries, with a growing team on the ground and in the office, George is still as passionate about Turf, Topsoil, Artificial Turf, Millboard as ever before. Putting that growth into perspective George started out delivering a goal mouths worth of turf at a time and now our fleet of lorries can now carry a whole football pitch worth of turf in one go! We are excited to be able to keep improving our offerings to you and continue to service more of our wonderful customers in what we call “George Davies Country.” The GDT story and the growth above has only been possible because George himself has changed his outlook massively; he has changed from a control freak that performed every task within the business, from order taking and delivering to invoicing. He now enjoys nothing more than encouraging and inspiring his team and takes great pleasure watching them grow and flourish on a daily basis. George has his name over the door but he’s built a team of truly remarkable individuals that are taking the business onto a new level and that’s why we are so excited about the future.