£100 caravan turns into multi-million-pound business
When John Fowler left the Merchant Navy after five years’ service he had £300 in his pocket but was without a house, a job or a car.
He knew from his seafaring travels around the world that self-catering holidays were going to be the next big thing.
So the budding entrepreneur bought an old caravan for £100 then found a local farmer willing for John to site the caravan on one of his fields.
An ad was placed in a local newspaper. With the deposits received from interested would-be holidaymakers, John went out and bought a second caravan.
That was in 1953. And thus was born John Fowler Holidays which last year celebrated its diamond anniversary.
In those 60 years JFH has grown into a chain of 14 parks spread across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset with 2,000 holiday caravans as well as 1,000 chalets and an annual turnover of £40m. Backed up by a workforce of 1,000, it has become one of the UK’s biggest self-catering providers offering accommodation for up to 15,000 visitors nightly.
What a contrast with those early days when John not only ran his fledgling business single handed but also worked as an agent selling cattle feed in order to supplement his income.
Although 85, the man behind John Fowler Holidays is still actively involved in the business, supported by his wife Suzie.
That’s in addition to his son Martin and daughters Suzy-Anna and Daisy as well as grandson Oliver.
‘Family-run for family fun’ as the company motto puts it.
More information from www.johnfowlerholidays.com