Mercedes-Benz Dealer Intercounty Truck & Van has been rewarded for its confidence and foresight in commissioning refrigerated conversions to vehicles that can then be sold from stock at short notice, with a breakthrough order from an award-winning foodservice business.
Joseph & Henry’s four new Sprinters offer impressive carrying capacities and are the subject of contract hire agreements with its established partner, the commercial vehicle finance broker Balgores Leasing.
The operator is a trading arm of JC Rook & Sons, which has been serving customers in Kent for more than 55 years. JC Rook & Sons has 11 butcher’s shops across the county and a Food Standards Agency-approved production and distribution facility in Ramsgate, where it makes pies, sausages and suet puddings.
Joseph & Henry specialises in supplying trade customers, including restaurants, schools, hotels and pub chains. Between them, the two brands run more than 15 vans – the latest additions to the fleet are the first to wear three-pointed stars.
All are medium length L2 high-roofed H2 Sprinter 315 CDI variants with 3.5-tonne gross weights. The insulated, single-compartment chiller conversions were undertaken by GRP Group, in Leeds, which also fitted GAH Rapier RC301 refrigeration units with single-phase electric standby. Deletion of the passenger seat and spare wheel contributes to the vehicle’s 1,040 kg payload allowance.
Joseph & Henry acquired the Sprinters to support its continued expansion into Sussex; they are now operating from a new distribution centre in Shoreham. Flagship customers include Brighton’s iconic Grand Hotel, which receives deliveries six days a week of raw and cooked meats, plant-based food solutions and complementary products.
Director Adrian Burr explained: “The Grand is one of our largest and most prestigious customers in Sussex, and the association continues to help us win significant incremental business from local companies and organisations. The fact that we are able to meet the demands of highly regarded clients reflects the quality of the products and service we offer.”
Mr Burr said that despite the challenging trading conditions resulting from successive Covid lockdowns, Joseph & Henry had remained focused on growth. “We have recruited 22 full time staff in Shoreham since the lifting of restrictions last May. It was a high-risk strategy to add another depot mid-pandemic, but it has paid off by helping us to achieve a four-fold growth in turnover this year alone.”
Joseph & Henry switched to Mercedes-Benz on the advice of Balgores Leasing. “Availability was key,” recalled Adrian Burr. “We needed extra vans quickly and the pre-converted Sprinters were available from Intercounty Truck & Van at short notice. We took three initially, and added a fourth a little while later.
“It wasn’t only about the delivery timetable, though,” he said. “The historic association with the van manufacturer that dominates the shared JC Rook & Sons and Joseph & Henry fleet predates my own involvement. For my part, though, there was a strong appeal to the Mercedes-Benz product, given its premium positioning and the Sprinter’s unrivalled reputation for reliability and safety. This was a view shared by members of our delivery team.
“The Mercedes-Benz star is synonymous with quality and engineering excellence, and that’s an association that can only complement our own brand image. Customer feedback is certainly very positive, so we are now considering another two Sprinters to support our continued expansion.”
Intercounty Truck & Van operates from headquarters in Wellingborough and other branches in Boston, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Toddington. Mr Burr added: “The fact that we sourced the vans through Balgores Leasing meant we hadn’t engaged directly with the Dealer. We were really pleased, therefore, when Intercounty’s Regional Fleet Sales Manager James Holmes came down to Shoreham to give us a personal introduction to, and overview of, the new vans. That wasn’t a service we were expecting, but it was very much appreciated.”
Joseph & Henry’s Sprinters employ the 150 hp/340 Nm version of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ latest 2.0-litre engine; the same four-cylinder unit is also available in 170 hp/380 Nm and 190 hp/450 Nm trim.
Like all new Mercedes-Benz vans, they came with three-year unlimited mileage warranties, and MobiloVan cover, which includes free, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance, 365 days a year.