ISD builds RD Johns cold store

Newton Abbot, UK: Food wholesaler R D Johns has a new distribution centre built by ISD Solutions.

The bespoke building is an eco-friendly Dutch Barn design, an increasingly popular type of coldstore constructed from a single layer or composite panels at low level providing the thermal and vapour barrier requirements with an internal ceiling and high-level apron and roof structure over.  There were requirements for frozen, chilled and ambient storage on this site.

R D Johns started as a family butcher but has since expanded with turnover rising from £5m in 2019 to around £42m last year. Andrew Johns, owner of the company, is now targeting growth to £200m turnover by 2026.

Darren Willcox sales manager, ISD Solutions said: “We have had a productive and trusted relationship with RD Johns ever since Andrew Johns took over the company in 1997.

Johns said that the new premises marked a necessary but significant milestone in his company’s quest to become the largest food wholesaler in the south of England. “We’ve massively outgrown our existing premises at Newton Abbot, where we’ve been since 1997,” he said.

“When we started we were mainly butchers, but since 2000 we’ve evolved into foodservice, which is where most of our growth has stemmed from. That’s a very competitive area and it’s taken a long time to take the fight to our competition effectively, given their protectiveness over supplier relationships. That’s been a big challenge but we’ve met it head on and we’re now in a good place. However, our previous premises are no longer fit for purpose.

Andrew Johns (left) of R D Johns with Darren Willcox of ISD Solutions

“With our other depot in Bath, this move allows us to grow, not just in terms of capacity but also allowing expansion with key operational and business development functions – marketing, procurement, distribution, sales and so on – under one roof. This new facility will be our head office and the brains of the whole operation,” Johns said.