W.H. Mason & Son

 “It was refreshing when I met Anton to find somebody who was so enthusiastic, keen and basically willing to go the extra mile.” 

Mike Cherry, Director, W.H. Mason & Son Ltd

W.H. Mason & Son Ltd was founded in 1897 and still operates in Burton-on-Trent. Wood is at the heart of the business, although director Mike Cherry, who was national chair of the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) until March, explained how it had now diversified into other areas. 

He said: “The manufacturing side has two parts to it. One is the wood turnery side, which continues to provide the wooden closures for the real ale brewers for their cask ales in the UK, the other is very high-quality laser engraved giftware and presentation pieces, B2B, B2C products that individuals or businesses can buy either as promotional items or as gifts for special occasions. 

“We laser engrave onto the products – some of which we manufacture in-house, personal messages, corporate and civic logos, military crests, and everything else in the same way you can put on a piece of paper. 

“They are completely diverse, and it all came out of timber when we were established in 1897. 

“We had a traditional timber merchant side that had its own machining facilities, and we had a sawmill that converted English hardwoods to whatever customers required. That’s where I started, exporting back in the 70s and 80s considerable amounts of timber out to European furniture manufacturers.” 

A separate business, MHC Industrials, was set up in the 1980s as an agent for a German company which made wood turning machinery. That business still sells used machinery, parts and spares. 

 The challenge: 

One of the raw materials used by W.H.Mason & Son Ltd is cane from Vietnam which they manufacture across the brewing industry. 

Mike said: “It is used to vent off the excess gas in the cask before it is hard spiled and served. There is a shive and a spile – the bung and the peg – used by real ale brewers to condition and serve their cask ales. 

“We had previously done it through an agent but the agent either went bust or just gave up during covid, so we had to find a source and supplier ourselves.” 

He said the nature of cane, which is a raw natural product, meant special expertise was needed to import it into the UK. 

 How Global Freight helped: 

Mike had met Global Freight managing director Anton Gunter during a visit with the FSB, and had been impressed by Anton’s attitude to business and customer service. 

Mike said: “It stuck in my mind that if I ever needed someone to help us then we would put a call in, and that’s what we have done. 

“Having come across many freight forwarders and hauliers in my business life, Anton struck me as one who was eager to support customers in importing and exporting.” 

 The customer says: 

“Anton helped us a lot. We had never used a freight forwarder to help us with the shipping before. We went to Anton and asked him if he could help, and he was only too pleased to facilitate that.  

“Global Freight have the knowledge and expertise that we don’t possess in-house. 

“It was refreshing when I met Anton wearing my FSB hat to find somebody who was so enthusiastic, keen, and basically willing to go the extra mile. 

“In our own business we rely on that personal service, as do most small businesses, to keep customers and to grow their businesses, and Anton struck me as someone who was well able to offer that sort of support. 

“Personal service comes above just looking at price, so it’s the value of the offer rather than just price, price, price. Hopefully we offer that to our customers as well.” 

 Mike Cherry, Director, W.H.Mason & Son Ltd