The Friday Media Group Story
Friday Media Group has been a vital cog in local business in Sussex for almost four decades. Our expansion into other parts of the UK, as well as the US and Spain has allowed us to transplant our culture of innovation and support for local business needs, into exciting new territories.
We’ve benefited greatly from our presence in all these local communities, and we’re committed to giving something back.
Where did we start?
“We wanted to help people find things to buy, and make money by selling their unwanted goods,” says Chris. “Before local advertising papers, you had to drive all over the country. We felt there was a quicker, more efficient way of buying and selling, and sure enough, the local audience proved to be happy that Friday-Ad was there to help.”
Within a few years Friday-Ad had become a widely-used publication, popular with small businesses and individuals alike. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s it grew in its print form and by 2000 there were 80 publications and 40 retail stores. Sister publication Trade-It was bought in 2003, a title also designed to help people buy and sell locally, this time in Bristol and the South West.
Our determination to evolve alongside the rise of the internet has been the key to our success in recent years.
“Adapting to change has helped us not just survive, but thrive,” says Chris. “We know we can never stand still, so we are always looking ahead at future challenges and opportunities.”
Embracing the digital revolution
Embracing the digital revolution, we took Friday-Ad online in 1994. As the new millennium dawned, we underwent rapid expansion, launching new websites and acquiring market-leading brands and companies – ultimately creating the Friday Media Group we see today. Now our digital business comprises over 90 websites spanning lifestyle and hobbies, niche marketplace selling, recruitment and ecommerce.
Brands include FridayAd.co.uk, TradeIt.co.uk, Horsemart.co.uk, Boatshop24.co.uk, BirdTrader.co.uk, DogsandPuppies.co.uk, FarmingAds.co.uk, AviationJobsearch.com, SimplyLawJobs.com, CabinCrew.com, Natives.co.uk, Caravansforsale.co.uk and Fancyapint.com, to name just a few.
Our retail/ecommerce division has been growing rapidly – MailspeedMarine.com is now the UK’s leading online chandlery, while EquineSuperstore.co.uk is the fastest growing e-commerce site in the sector.
We own award-winning ecommerce web design and support service providers Spidersnet.co.uk and Leadspring.co.uk, and continue to print the popular weekly Friday-Ad and Trade-It publications. We also run successful commercial print and video production services within the business.
Ethical business, charitable purpose
Long before the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) came into play, Friday Media Group has been conscious of the need to work to ethical business standards, and aspire to sustainability and corporate citizenship. To us, that means treating our suppliers and clients with respect and fairness; being open, honest and transparent in our business dealings; treating our staff well; considering the local community; and minimizing our impact on the environment.
We know that healthy happy employees will help us remain a healthy, happy company. Over the years we have provided safe, appealing places to work, provided good training and personal development opportunities, and increasingly focused on employee wellbeing and employee engagement.
Our staff enjoy free fruit Wednesdays, at Sayers Common colleagues can make free use of a gym, and in all locations we promote healthy living, and support involvement in amateur sports and activities beyond the office, be that five-aside football, netball teams, running clubs or
By employing local people, and providing excellent training and career advancement opportunities (most recently through our Sales Academy) we have become an employer of choice in several locations, giving many people of all ages the chance to learn, earn and shine. We work with local Job Centre Plus offices to help people find work, and we regularly host Careers Open Days, welcoming in potential new employees, to show them what we have to offer.
And of course our involvement in the many areas of leisure and lifestyle – that we tap into via our websites – means we are promoting healthy living and environmental issues on a daily basis. Animal welfare is a big issue for us and our customers on www.horsemart.co.uk, www.farmingads.co.uk and www.dogsandpuppies.co.uk, sport and healthy lifestyles are promoted through www.boatshop24.co.uk,www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk and www.natives.com, while through the recruitment sites such as www.cabincrew.com and www.simplylawjobs.com we are helping people find jobs and benefit from sector-specific careers advice.
Working culture – inclusive, innovative
Internationally we have set up in Miami and Barcelona, and continue to consider new ways to expand.
Friday Media Group is still family-owned and has retained its innovative, inclusive culture and the clear strategic vision that was germinated back in 1975.
“The key objective hasn’t changed,” explains Chris Kidger. “We still strive to offer unique services that will support independent buyers and sellers, and businesses of all types and sizes. We want to share our knowledge of online business and digital marketing so that smaller companies aren’t left behind. And we want to employ great people to help us achieve that. We’re still committed to opening up the marketplace to all, and of course, bridging gaps in the market.”