HOW ABI BECAME WHAT IT IS TODAY
ABI was born in 1972 out of the merger of two rapidly growing names in the caravan world, Ace, and Belmont. Initially called Ace Belmont International, the company quickly became known as ABI; the name it still carries today. The UK caravan industry was quickly developing in the 1970s, and through its innovative designs and quality products manufactured from its base in Beverley, East Yorkshire, ABI quickly became a household name.
Over the years, the company has truly made its mark through its iconic caravans. Many of ABI’s models produced over the last 50 years – be it the Sierra, Rio-Vista or more recently the Ambleside or the Harrogate– have been at the heart of many happy memories for owners and holidaymakers alike, with its 50-year celebrations being a perfect time to reminisce.
Like many successful companies, ABI had to evolve over time, and adapt to changing markets. By 2001, it had stopped manufacturing motorhomes and touring caravans, focusing solely on caravan holiday homes. This allowed ABI to become an industry leader in this market, known for its quality, design, innovation and customer service.
CEO Richard Jones adds, “The thing that has had the most influence on the success of ABI over the last half century is its people. Whether it’s the skilled craftsmen, hand-producing each holiday home, or the teams behind the scenes that ensure our customers, suppliers and staff are all looked after in the way they should be …our people are what make us”.
BECAUSE THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER
For many years, ABI has said, ‘because the little things matter’. Not just in the finishing touches on each holiday home, but in every area of the business – right down to its local initiatives.
Back in 2013, ABI led by example and installed a biomass boiler in its factory. This renewable energy solution allowed the company to use waste materials to heat the factory – not only reducing ABI’s consumption of fossil fuels, but also removing local traffic that originally transported waste products away from its site in Beverley.
The company has continued to lead the way throughout the years, becoming the first caravan holiday home manufacturer to become accredited as a living wage employer in 2019, then gaining its carbon neutral accreditation just two years later, in 2021.
MAKING THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER EVEN MORE
To mark its 50th anniversary, ABI has made further commitments to supporting environmental initiatives and local charitable causes. For each holiday home produced since September 2021, ABI has not only pledged £10 to support employeeselected charities, but also planted a tree in the UK to offset its carbon emissions, as well as supporting carbon reducing projects around the world. Over £50,000 has been donated since these initiatives began, and with the support continuing in the future, the positive impact of these “little things” will be felt for many years.
The charitable support from the last year have been donated to four incredible Yorkshire charities. From local community projects to helping fund lifesaving helicopter flights for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, all funds will provide invaluable resources for ABI’s local community.
“...Candlelighters, a Leeds-based charity that supports children with cancer and their families, our funds will help to provide talking therapy for parents for a whole year...”
For Candlelighters, a Leeds-based charity that supports children with cancer and their families, these funds will help to provide talking therapy for parents for a whole year. Hull 4 Heroes, a charity working to support ex-service personnel, will use the donations to help fund its ongoing Veterans Village project in the city. Neighbourhood Network, also based in Hull, will put the funds towards growing its operations in the city and bringing on more volunteers to support the charity’s efforts.
2022 AND BEYOND
The past 50 years have seen exciting changes make ABI what it is today. From its home in Beverley, ABI has continued to adapt and evolve so it can thrive in ever-changing markets. Now with a dedicated team designing, manufacturing, and supporting the production of innovative and quality
new models, it has established its place at the forefront of the UK caravan holiday home market.
There will always be challenges to overcome, new markets to explore and new developments to make the most of. Through all of that, what will always come first is a commitment to providing industry-leading caravan holiday homes with customers, employees, and the community front and centre, because the little things matter.
Richard Jones concludes, “ABI has always been like being part of a family. That family includes our fantastic employees, suppliers, customers, and our local community. Many of these have been part of ABI for many years, for which we are immensely proud. Whilst being around for 50 years is a moment to celebrate, ABI has always been a company that looks forward, and I cannot wait to see what the next 50 years bring!”
RELATED ARTICLES - buying a static holiday caravan caravan industry news caravan review
Published on 21 December 2022 By Jenny Blumsom