Uckfield-based estate agents and surveyors Lawson Commercial are celebrating 30 years in business.
Partners Chris and Julia Lawson, who also celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this year, say they enjoy working together and are pleased to have made a success of selling and letting all types of commercial property.
Chris began his career with Stiles Harold Williams in Brighton and launched his own agency from home in January 1988.
A year later he opened an office in Brighton but eventually he and Julia decided to concentrate on the Wealden side of the business opening an office in The Coach House in Belmont Road, Uckfield, in 1998.
Lawson Commercial outgrew that space and, in 2006/7, bought a run down building behind what is now the Thai Terre restaurant, and restored and converted it as offices where they remain to this day.
The business operates between Tunbridge Wells and the coast and between the A21 and A23.
Chris said: “We like Uckfield, like to keep the business local and this works well for our clients.”
He and Julia have seen the town of Uckfield grow hugely in their 30 years in business.
Lawson Commercial has been involved in selling and letting many buildings on the Bellbrook Industrial Estate including the headquarters for Kennedy Hygiene, the eight small units at Riverside, Birch House (the new home of Westminster Furniture), and the Holbein Centre opposite TR Fastenings.
In 1988 they were appointed the letting agents for the Bell Walk shopping precinct and were successful in acquiring for developers, a site that became Tesco.
Lawson Commercial has also been involved in the development and letting of buildings which are now occupied by Halfords, McDonalds, the former Trading 4U, Topps Tiles and Swindells the accountants at the eastern end of Bell Farm Lane/Bell Lane.
They have been involved in office schemes too, Office Village, behind Waitrose, Falmer Court in London Road, two of three phases of Horsted Square on the Bellbrook and Kingfisher Court on the Bellbrook.
More recently they are agents for the Ashdown Park development at Maresfield, have seen a John Lewis distribution centre open there and been involved in a deal which will see Gunnebo open its new headquarters building on the site next month.
Lawson Commercial has amassed many photographs taken over the years to accompany property details and they are proving of interest as an exhibition is prepared at Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre charting the history of Uckfield High Street.
Chris said: “Our photographs are of interest because neighbouring shops are often included in shots of those being let.”
Chris and Julia are well known for networking in the Uckfield area and for supporting local events and charities.
He said: “If you make a living out of the local area it is nice to give something back. This is why we have been long term supporters of the Uckfield Festival, the Carnival, The Kit Wilson Animal Trust and Friends of Sussex Hospices to mention a few.”
Chamber of Commerce
Chris was president of Uckfield Chamber of Commerce in 1991, 1994 and 1996 , and is currently vice-chairman. He is standing for election as president at the annual meeting tonight.
“In business we want to do what is best for the client and for the town, and not what is best for Lawson Commercial.
“We could quite easily let a building to an occupier knowing full well they are not going to last, take the fee off the landlord and move on, but that is not the way we operate.
“Over 40 years as a commercial agent I have built up a lot of knowledge and experience and although it is important to earn a fee, I do derive enormous personal satisfaction from helping people and pointing them in the right direction.
“I like to think that when they become successful they will come back to us when they want to move. It is this involvement that makes the business enjoyable.”
There’s always a warm welcome at Lawson Commercial from Toffee and Cleo the latest canine members of the Lawson Commercial team. Other much-loved dogs were Bart, Barney and Muppet.
Chris said that after starting the business at home he and Julia didn’t feel they could leave the dogs behind so they came with them.
He added: “They are great company, enjoy meeting people and spend most of the day lying around in their baskets. They are great judges of character.
“They are also great stress relievers. If you are having a bad day, there is nothing like stroking a dog that has put its head in your lap!”