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Over 70 Years in Business Business Est. 1948
Free Standard Delivery* on orders of £100 or over
Great Customer Service Advice to help you choose too!

Our History

Award-winning independent electrical retailers, Snellings and Gerald Giles are a trusted business with over 75 years of retail innovation. Built from the strong and innovative foundations of two iconic Norfolk family companies, our heritage is an important part of our success. We have two cutting-edge retail showrooms in Norfolk, and provide top electrical brands to customers across the UK via this e-commerce website.

The two companies merged in 2011 under the ownership of RC Snelling Ltd and are led by managing director Paul Giles. The merger enabled us to offer a strong and improved product range from leading well-known brands and an extensive range of services for customers as a result. We are renowned for being professional, trustworthy, and friendly.

Both Snellings and Gerald Giles have a strong tradition of being forward-thinking and following the latest trends in product innovation. After all, being quick to adapt to and embrace new technology and the perpetual drive to improve the business forward is in our blood …

Our founders

The founders of both businesses, Roy Snelling and Gerald Giles, had a long acquaintance, having first met in the early 1950’s. They developed a strong lifelong friendship and, despite being competitors, the pair frequently met after work to discuss business. Both men loved electrical innovation, bringing new technology to customers, and giving excellent customer service to go with it.

Snellings often recommend customers to go to Gerald Giles for kitchen appliances as Mr Snelling was reticent about selling appliances – he concentrated on selling or renting TVs and didn’t want to upset his best friend!

Television delivery

Roy Snelling seen here delivering, what would have been then, a state of the art television, to local customers.

A brief history of Snellings

Located in the Norfolk countryside in Blofield Heath, a few miles outside of Norwich, Snellings started out in business in 1954 when Roy Snelling took over a disused laundry building. Mr Snelling was an electronics pioneer and built the business on Renting Televisions – when TVs first came out, they were unreliable and very expensive. The shop also sold TVs and radios. In fact, we have a unique collection of vintage TVs and radios that are currently being restored and catalogued displayed in our own online museum.

Many years later, Snellings is still leading the way in consumer electronics – we have a stylish and award-winning smart home area, a wide range of the latest audio-visual products and a comprehensive display of kitchen appliances, which were introduced in 2012.

Visit our large 7,000sqft showroom in Blofield Heath and you will be astounded by the breadth of the latest home entertainment and kitchen appliances available. Our expert Sales Advisors are on hand to help guide you through the various options and can give you a comprehensive demonstration. By taking the time with our customers, we like to think it allows our customers to make an informed decision about the right product for your home.

Not only do we have a fantastic showroom, but we also offer many additional services. TV and kitchen appliance rental is something that we have offered for our customers since we installed our first television in 1955. Our Service & Delivery team can drop off your new product for free if it’s over £100. If you choose to invest in one of our additional services, we can install your new purchase no matter if it’s a washing machine or a new Television you would like mounting onto a wall.

In 2019 we took the opportunity to diversify into selling quality, bespoke kitchens via an impressive 1,500-square-foot showroom within the existing Snellings buildings in Blofield Heath, Norwich.

A brief history of Gerald Giles

Gerald Giles started the business in 1948, with his first shop in Rose Lane Norwich selling valve radios followed by televisions and then kitchen appliances. With a focus on continual improvement, highlights include being one of the first retailers in Norfolk to start selling dishwashers in 1967 and the opening Norfolk’s first Sony Centre in 1987.

Rose Lane Shop

Gerald Giles pictured here with colleagues at the second Rose Lane shop in the 1970s. John Goulder (pictured left) is today our operations manager.

In 1999 we created our first website to provide information to local customers and this longstanding experience of ecommerce has subsequently benefitted both businesses.

In 2007, after almost 50 years in Rose Lane, the store was redeveloped, and the showroom moved to 16-20 Ber Street. Sadly, aged 83, Mr Gerald Giles passed away in 2008, leaving his son Paul to continue running the business, having worked with his father since 1983.

The award-winning showroom features extensive displays of the latest TV, audio, and kitchen appliances from leading brands such as Bosch, Bose, Neff, Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Sonos, plus many more. In 2013 we were proud to be appointed as the Miele Centre serving Norfolk and North Suffolk, one of only 10 in the UK.

You can find the showroom in the centre of Norwich, on Ber Street, opposite John Lewis, with free parking.

Two are better than one

As both businesses had similar values, there was a great synergy, but they also offered something quite different to customers. Merging the businesses in 2011 also made sense at a time when many other independent electrical retailers in the UK were disappearing and manufacturers preferred to deal with credible independents who could hold their own.

With an existing strong friendship in place, in 2010 Roy Snelling and Paul Giles entered discussions to merge the companies and secure the longevity of both businesses.

After the sad passing of Mr Snelling in 2012, aged 88, Managing Director Paul Giles remains determined to build on the legacy of the founders by continuing to provide excellent customer service and quality products to both local and national customers.

It’s all about you, our customers

We are proud of the good reputation we have gained over many years. We offer customers top brands, great prices and high standards of expert advice and services that mean they return year after year. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • You can access a much larger range of products and services
  • Enjoy the convenience of online shopping, with comprehensive product and brand information/advice at your fingertips. Get free UK delivery on orders over £100.
  • We provide a comprehensive servicing, repair, installation, and appliance recycling services for local customers
  • Local customers have the choice and convenience of city centre shopping at Gerald Giles or visit our out-of-town showroom at Snellings
  • Combining the businesses has allowed us to develop even stronger relationships with leading electrical brands to offer you highly competitive prices.
  • With a team of highly experienced and manufacturer-trained staff, you can be confident that you are dealing with a product specialist who will give expert advice on choosing the right product for you.

It’s no wonder customers give us 5-star reviews, with comments like this:

Some statistics which may surprise you!

Because of our reputation for excellent service and quality product range, the businesses have grown significantly and we:

  • Deal with over 12,000 customers every year
  • Handle over 30,000 products
  • Carry out over 4,000 service calls

Ongoing developments to benefit you

  • As you have read above, we retain a drive to continually improve the business to benefit our customers. This has led to some major recent additions to the business:In 2018 we expanded our appliance service team covering Norfolk and north Suffolk
  • In 2019 we formed Snellings Kitchens – supplying mid-to-high-end quality kitchens and built-in appliances to local customers
  • In April 2021 a new distribution centre was opened in Norwich –  to efficiently store and distribute products following the significant increase in online sales we experienced since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
  • A new and improved ecommerce website was launched in July 2021, to serve both Gerald Giles & Snellings jointly and to benefit the local and national customers that www.geraldgiles.co.uk  has been serving in recent years.

A Journey Back in Time!

2023 Commemorating 75 Years: Reflecting on milestones in our business journey and the social history of that time.