Geoff Snow, founder of the Group, born in Charlton, Andover in 1932 attended Andover Grammar School during the war. Joined the Royal Navy at 16 years of age as Boy Seaman at HMS St Vincent, Gosport on five shillings a week! After various employment roles and competing in Autocross (grass track racing for cars) all over the country Geoff fulfilled his desire to start his own business at the age of 29.
On the 1st March 1962, Geoff acquired the Lease and bookshop/stationers, John Adams (Office Equipment) Ltd., of 49 Oxford Street, Southampton, and traded as Snows Office Supplies Ltd.
The company specialised in the sales of business machines, systems, furniture, supplies and equipment. The premises included a repair workshop that repaired business machines. The business quickly expanded and by the end of the first year had 11 employees.
A Printing works at Block 25, Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport was opened including the latest Heidelberg letterpress machine at the time. Later that year the first office machine – sales & repair workshop & office supplies branch at 34 Chipper Lane, Salisbury was opened.
The Snows name was being seen around the south on sign written A40 Farina company cars including advertising on their roof tops as Geoff's thoughts were, with the ever increasing size of buildings people would look out of their office windows and see the advertising on the roof of cars below!
Geoff in addition to building up his company found time in 1963 to win 23 first awards in Autocross with his Triumph Vitesse, finishing third in the British Autocross Championship – the highest placed saloon car.
A warehouse was rented at 7a Oxford Street, Southampton to help with the increase in business.
In May Snows opened a temporary printing and rubber stamp works in Eastern Docks, Southampton and sold the Printing works at the Airport.
In November Snows opened a second office machine – sales & repair workshop & office supplies branch at 50 Downing Street, Farnham.
During this busy time Geoff suffered a very serious setback of a major motor sporting accident when his open racing car flipped, overturned and with Geoff still in it burst into flames, breaking 4 ribs, dislocated a shoulder, suffered internal injuries including spleen removal and losing 7 pints of blood. At the time Geoff was leading the National British Autocross Championship making the front page news of the National Press Geoff lost all chance of being National British Autocross Champion. Hospitalised for 2 weeks in Southend, Essex Geoff signed himself out of the Hospital so he could get back to the business.
Geoff realised it was time to recover, sell the wreck and to give up his participation in Autocross and devote more time to the business!
During the year the third and fourth office machine – sales & repair workshop & office supplies branches were opened at 10/12 Queens Road, Portsmouth and 41 Stokes Croft, Bristol.
The Oxford Street premises were stretched to the limits and Snows Office Supplies Ltd. vacated the premises on Christmas Eve and moved to Church End, Shirley.
Snows Business Forms Ltd. was incorporated and moved the printing and rubber stamp works from the docks to Church End.
A fifth office machine – sales & repair workshop & office supplies branch at 3 Yarborough Road, Cowes, Isle of Wight was opened.
A new venture, a Ladies hair salon called Debutante at 10 College Place, Southampton was opened an address below Cloughs College where Geoff had previously managed Southampton Business Aids in previous employment.
Snows Business Forms Ltd. continued to grow rapidly and moved from Church End into 5/7 Tanners Brook Way, Millbrook, Southampton specialising in print for the motor trade and filling stations country wide.
10 Years in business saw a celebration at the Southampton Top Rank with Jimmy Tarbuck and Kenny Lynch as the live entertainment!
A boat building company Sandpiper Marine Ltd. commenced specialising in the design and manufacture of small sailing and speed boats at Yarborough Road, Cowes adjacent to the office machines & supplies branch on the Isle of Wight. The sailing boats were sold worldwide and over 1000 were produced by license in Canada.
Being an Olympic year, Snows had three employees, all Olympians competing at the Games in Munich, Germany. They were Donna Murray (Hartley) in Athletics, Ray Terrell and Colin Cunningham in the Swimming. It was also the Olympic Games when Mark Spitz was winning seven gold medals!
Retail & Office premises were acquired from Millbrook Furnishing at 399 Shirley Road and a joinery workshop in Roberts Road, Shirley to form a new company Style Decor & Design Ltd. specialising in the design and renovations of pubs and restaurants with Strong & Co of Romsey being a major customer.
A second Ladies Hair salon was opened, Shanda at Salisbury Road, Totton including a Ladies boutique next door and accessible from the salon.
Additional 3 floor premises and workshop were acquired adjoining Church End and fronting Shirley Road to allow further expansion of Snows Office Supplies Ltd.
These additional premises on Shirley Road allowed the creation of a Ladies and Gents boutique formed under the company Spotlight Boutiques Ltd.
With the many different businesses now operating a new holding company was created under the title Snows Business Holdings Ltd. and Snows Office Supplies Ltd. became one of five operating companies within the Snows Group, the others being Snows Business Forms Ltd., Sandpiper Marine Ltd., Spotlight Boutiques Ltd. and Style Decor & Design Ltd.
Donna Murray and Ray Terrell both Southampton born were absent from work for a month to compete at the Commonwealth Games in New Zealand. Ray won a Bronze medal in the swimming, whilst Donna did not get a medal this particular year she did go on to be the 400 metres Ladies Commonwealth Champion four years later in 1978.
Both Debutante & Shanda hair salons sold.
Snows Business Forms Ltd. producing a wide range of business forms and continuous stationery, established themselves as the major supplier to the motor trade with national contracts which included VW, Renault, Audi, Toyota, FIAT, Ford, Peugeot, Volvo, Datsun, Colt, SAAB, Vauxhall Bedford and British Leyland.
Sandpiper Marine Ltd. sold.
Snows always had a close association to local sport and in this era saw four employees being Champions of Hampshire in their respective sports. Diane Riste - Ladies Tennis, Brian Winteridge – Golf, Chris Shetler – Table Tennis and Marshall Thompson – Chess.
Style Decor & Design Ltd. sold.
Spotlight Boutiques Ltd. closed to enable Snows Office Supplies a showroom for the display of office furniture, machines and supplies on Shirley Road and then marketed as “cash & carry" office supplies.
The business Sigma Computing Group Ltd. was purchased with branches in Southampton and the Channel Islands selling computer and data systems.
Snows invested in St. James Toyota Centre a Toyota dealer on St. James Road, Shirley which was the first actual trading in the retail motor trade.
Snows Business Holdings Ltd. & the sales operation of Snows Office Supplies Ltd. move to new premises including a large showroom at Salisbury House, Salisbury Street, Southampton. The service & supply operation of Snows Office Supplies Ltd. moved to Unit 6, Tanners Brook Way, Millbrook.
The premises at Church End and Shirley Road were sold.
In May the company Kings Worthy Motors Ltd. was purchased, a BMW dealer and filling station at London Road, Kings Worthy.
On the 1st July the company Volker Harms Ltd. T/a VHL BMW was purchased, a BMW dealer at High Street, Old Portsmouth.
The investment involvement with St. James Toyota Centre was relinquished.
Snows Office Supplies Ltd. sales operation moved to Tanners Brook Way, Millbrook.
Sigma Computing Group Ltd. was sold.
Snows Business Forms Ltd. moves to new premises at Manor House Avenue, Millbrook.
Kings Worthy Motors Ltd. changed the BMW franchise to Volvo and traded as Kingsworthy Volvo.
The existing Directors of Snows Business Forms Ltd. purchased the business from SBH.
The company Wessex Garages Ltd. a Mazda dealer was purchased from John Crocombe at Rushington Roundabout, Totton and trades as Wessex Mazda.
The existing Directors of Snows Office Supplies Ltd. purchased the business from SBH.
Wessex Garages Ltd. acquired Barnes Lane Service Station and developed a second Mazda dealership at Barnes Lane, Sarisbury Green, Southampton.
The Glanfield Lawrence motor dealership premises on Fratton Road, Portsmouth were purchased and refurbished as a new BMW dealership.
VHL BMW changed its trading name to Snows BMW and moved from Old Portsmouth to the new dealership premises at Fratton Road, Portsmouth.
Wessex Garages Ltd. was sold to Sewards.
A new company Ponder Ltd. was formed and acquired the Toyota franchise from Ropley Motors at The Dene, Ropley and changed its name to trade as Ropley Toyota.
In June Ropley Toyota purchased a small body repair business BJM Motors next door to the dealership at The Dene, and opened Ropley Toyota Body Shop.
Acquired a body repair business R&A Ward Brothers, Fareham and established Snows Body Repair Centre at Fort Wallington, Fareham.
Great Covert Car Sales was acquired at Botley Road, North Baddesley and Snows operated a Group used car centre with service workshops for all makes.
Three residential properties neighbouring Kingsworthy Volvo known as the Police House, Rosella and Itchen View purchased to allow for the opportunity of a new purpose built dealership for Volvo.
The SEAT franchise for Southampton was acquired for Great Covert Car Sales and changed its name to trade as Great Covert SEAT.
Snows Business Holdings Ltd. changed its name to Snows Motor Group Ltd.
Following many years battling with Winchester planning department the development of a new Volvo dealership started at London Road, Kings Worthy for Kingsworthy Volvo.
In June the BMW franchise and Land Rover aftersales franchise on the Isle of Wight were acquired from Hunny Hill Garages at Forest Road, Newport and a new company HGL Ltd T/a HGL BMW & Land Rover was formed.
The new Volvo dealership for Kingsworthy Volvo opened.
The ex Hobbs the Printers premises at Second Avenue, Millbrook were purchased and re-furbished for a second Volvo dealership and offices for the SBH head office operation.
The head office operation vacated Salisbury Street and moved to offices above the new dealership named Kingsworthy Volvo Southampton at Second Avenue.
The Volvo franchise for Salisbury was acquired from New Miles Volvo, Telford Road, Churchfields and the trading names of the Kingsworthy Volvo dealerships were changed to “Kings" Southampton, “Kings" Winchester and “Kings" Salisbury. The Three Kings!
The Lease for the prime corner site on the Portsmouth Motor Park was acquired from Slough Estates to construct two brand new dealerships – BMW and Mitsubishi.
In November Snows BMW moved from their Fratton Road premises to the new purpose built dealership on Eastern Road, Portsmouth.
In December a new purpose built Mitsubishi dealership Snows Spinnaker Ltd. T/a Spinnaker Mitsubishi was opened next door to Snows BMW on the Airport Service Road, Portsmouth.
HGL BMW changed its trading name to Snows BMW.
Snows BMW open MINI within their BMW dealerships at Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.
In July Snows Motor Group Ltd. acquired the Lease and purchased the Toyota & Lexus franchises from Marshall Rolfe (Southampton) Ltd., Third Avenue, Millbrook. The dealerships continued to trade as Marshall Rolfe Toyota and Lexus Southampton.
The Volvo franchise for the Isle of Wight was acquired from Alan Gibson at Binstead, IOW and traded as Kings Volvo Isle of Wight.
A new building was constructed for HGL Land Rover on land to the rear of the Snows BMW and MINI at Forest Road.
A new building was constructed via Slough Estates for Snows MINI on the land adjoining Snows BMW at Eastern Road.
The SEAT franchise was added to the dealership Snows Spinnaker Ltd. in Portsmouth and duelled with Mitsubishi.
Snows MINI Portsmouth opened in a new purpose built showroom next to Snows BMW.
The Land Rover, SEAT and Toyota dealerships changed their trading names to “Kings".
The 3.5 acre ex Cooper Vision contact lens factory site at Botley Road, Hedge End was purchased for a re-development of the site for brand new Toyota joint Lexus dealerships. The indoor used car showroom for Lexus displaying 40 cars was the largest in Europe.
Lexus Southampton changed its name to Lexus Hedge End and re-located from Millbrook to Hedge End and operated from a Marquee for a year whilst the new development took place.
The company Page Motors Ferndown Ltd. was purchased and the dealership continued as a Volvo dealership on Ringwood Road, Ferndown and then traded as Kings Volvo Bournemouth.
The Mitsubishi sales agreement was relinquished and the whole dealership continued as Kings SEAT Portsmouth.
On the 1st January Kings Toyota and Lexus Hedge End open and transferred its Kings Toyota operation from Ropley to Hedge End at the same time. The Ropley premises were then sold.
Geoff Snow retired and son Stephen became Group Chairman.
The Land Rover sales agreement was relinquished at Kings Land Rover Isle of Wight.
The Mitsubishi aftersales agreement was relinquished at Kings SEAT Portsmouth.
Kings Volvo Isle of Wight at Binstead was closed.
The Lease at North Baddesley was not renewed and the Kings SEAT Southampton business was transferred to dual franchise with Kings Volvo at Second Avenue, Southampton.
Too Good to Auction (TG2A) a used car operation specialising in the sale of part exchanges sourced from the Group's dealerships opened behind the Toyota and Lexus dealership at Hedge End.
Snows Body Repair Centre was sold to Seward Accident Repair Centres.
The ex Wyatt Citroen premises were purchased from the Administrators at Blandford Road, Hamworthy and Kings SEAT & Volvo Poole opened.
The ex U-Drive premises were purchased on First Avenue, Millbrook immediately behind the Kings SEAT & Volvo dealerships at Second Avenue to create a vehicle storage compound for SEAT, Toyota and Volvo.
Over the previous years at appropriate times the business assets and liabilities of HGL Ltd., Page Motors Ferndown Ltd., Ponder Ltd. and Volker Harms Ltd. were transferred to other companies in the Group and they became non trading companies.
Snows Motor Group Ltd. is re-named Snows Business Holdings Ltd.
Kings Worthy Motors Ltd. is re-named Snows Motor Group Ltd.
Snows Business Holdings Ltd. wholly owns Snows Motor Group Ltd. and all property interests.
Snows Motor Group Ltd. owns each of the trading dealerships in the Group.
On 1st January the Group changed all the dealerships trading as “Kings" to “Snows".
The only exception is Lexus Hedge End being a separate agreement determined by Lexus GB.
The premises and Volvo & KIA franchises were purchased from Alan Gibson at Brunel Road, Basingstoke and traded as Snows Volvo & KIA Basingstoke.
The purchase of the Basingstoke Volvo made Snows Volvo the largest Volvo Group in terms of locations with 6 dealerships in the UK.
Snows SEAT Isle of Wight at Forest Road, Newport established in the previous Kings Land Rover premises.
The Lease at Ringwood Road, Ferndown was not renewed and the Snows Volvo Bournemouth business was transferred to Snows Volvo Poole.
Following the success of TG2A at Hedge End our three Volvo dealerships at Salisbury, Southampton and Winchester opened with TG2A sites at their existing premises.
In January the Lease of the dealership premises located at Winchester Hill, Romsey was acquired by SBH and Snows Peugeot Romsey opened.
Also in January acquired premises and land immediately neighbouring our site at Telford Road, Churchfields enabling expansion of the business especially TG2A.
In February the SEAT franchise was added to dual with Snows Volvo Salisbury at Telford Road, Churchfields making Snows SEAT the largest SEAT Group in terms of locations with 5 dealerships in the UK.
Adding to the further success of TG2A, Snows Group further expanded the TG2A brand with the opening of Too Good To Auction Isle of Wight at the Forest Road premises in Newport.
In January Snows Motor Group acquired the Toyota and Lexus businesses from Marsh Garages Ltd in the south west of England. The acquisition included four Toyota dealerships in Plymouth, Exeter, Honiton, Paignton and two Lexus dealerships in Exeter and Plymouth.
We expanded our Too Good To Auction businesses by adding a sixth business from our Plymouth dealership. This now equates to 6 TG2A dealerships in: Hedge End, Isle of Wight, Plymouth, Salisbury, Southampton and Winchester.
Snows Toyota Rental opened in March from the offices at Snows Toyota Southampton and Snows Toyota Plymouth.
April saw the launch of Lotus Hedge End based at our Botley Road site. Lotus is now the ninth brand to join the impressive portfolio of marques within the Snows Group.
In June, the Group purchased the land and premises known as Parcel 1904 next to the Snows Volvo and SEAT Southampton dealership in Second Avenue, to allow for further future development opportunities.
In January the Group added it’s seventh TG2A business at the SEAT dealership in Poole.
Snows Leasing opened in June operating from the offices above the Snows Toyota and Lexus dealership at Hedge End.
August saw Snows Accident Repair Centre utilise the empty building at Parcel 1904 on Second Avenue to cater for the expansion of the Group’s Body Repair facility.
Snows Group expanded the Too Good To Auction business even further by adding an eighth TG2A business at its Peugeot Romsey dealership. Our TG2A dealerships are now operating from Hedge End, Isle of Wight, Plymouth, Poole, Romsey, Salisbury, Southampton, and Winchester.
In September the Group extended it’s Lotus portfolio as an authorised Aftersales Repairer based out of the Plymouth dealership.
November saw Snows Business Holdings Ltd. purchase 2 acres of freehold land on the Marsh Barton Industrial Estate in Exeter to develop a brand new joint Toyota & Lexus dealership to replace the existing Toyota & Lexus operation in Exeter which is due to open in May 2016.
In December Snows Business Holdings Ltd. acquired the freehold of the BMW & MINI premises at Forest Road, Newport, Isle of Wight.
Also in December a lease of premises on Moorfield Road, Slyfield Industrial Estate in Guildford was acquired by Snows Business Holdings Ltd. and Snows KIA Guildford opened as a second KIA dealership for the Group.
March saw Snows Business Holdings Ltd. acquire the freehold to Brazier Industrial Estate on Third Avenue, Southampton. The intention is to re-locate Head Office and Snows Accident Repair Centre to this site in the future.
In November, the Group opened up a new Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles dealership neighbouring our existing Lexus Plymouth dealership.
April saw the Group's first ever Suzuki dealership open in Poole. Suzuki became the eleventh brand to join Snows Group's fantastic variety of marques.
In August, we acquired WKB Toyota in Waterlooville and Chichester, as well as WKB Select in Waterlooville. This is an exciting time for the Group, who now have a total of eight Toyota dealerships across the south coast.
September proved another successful month for the Group with the acquisition of Carshop SEAT Yeovil; bringing the total amount of Snows SEAT dealerships up to six.
October saw the acquisition of 3 new dealerships in Basingstoke; Citroen, DS and Peugeot. Citroen and DS are new brands for the Group and bring an exciting new range to the Snows line-up.