9/30/2009 11:46:00 AM
Mike Hopkinson, Pama
When was Pama established?
The company was set up in 1981 by the Farshi family as a retail operation, initially selling CB, radio and PMR products. In the 1990s, it moved into mobile phone accessories. Pama invented the very first plug in and go handset for cars and won a Queen’s Award for Industry for it. It was a natural progression to then develop Bluetooth-enabled equipment.
Where are you based?
We are based in Stockport, Manchester and cover the whole of the UK. We have 34 retail stores, which are all located in motorway service stations. We also trade in around 30 countries overseas.
How many staff are there in the company?
There are around 70 people in the retail business and some 50 people in Pama Wholesale.
How would you describe the company culture?
It has a very family feel. If you develop your staff, you develop your business. Nearly two thirds of our staff are studying for some kind of vocational qualification. We give them as much support as possible.
What are your main product offerings?
All sorts of power chargers for phones, memory devices, headsets and equipment to allow you to talk on the move safely and legally, and then products that help people maximise the use of their phone, such as music.
What’s the split between the consumer and b2b sides of the business?
Pama Wholesale accounts for two thirds of the business and retail one third.
What’s the company strategy going forward?
We aim to grow volume, but not at the expense of profit. We are approaching 40% growth year on year in the retail business, where we’ve opened six more stores in 2009. The b2b side has delivered around 25% sales growth, but providing support and flexibility to our clients is critical. If you ask clients to spend money on new, relatively untried products you have to be supportive and take some of the risk. On another tack, we are now diversifying into office supplies.
What is your typical client portfolio?
We have a very mixed customer base but if we have a particular strength, it is providing products to any kind of retailer linked to servicing the needs of people who communicate when they are on the move for business or domestic purposes.
What is your most popular product or service?
Bluetooth motorcycle helmet communications devices are really flying at the moment. We are also one of the biggest distributors of Parrot products.