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Richer Sounds, Richer Staff

Published on: 22 May, 2019
Updated on: 24 May, 2019

By Hugh Coakley

Staff at Richer Sounds, the hi-fi, home cinema and TV specialists, were delighted last week to hear that they would be enrolled in a John Lewis style share ownership deal amounting to 60% of the company.  But they were then “stunned” to be told that they would also get a cash bonus of £1,000 for every full year of service.

Richer Sounds branch on the London Road in Guildford, opposite GLIve.

Tayla Higgins, manager of the London Road branch in Guildford, enthusiastically told The Guildford Dragon NEWS that she had been there when the announcement had been made by Julian Richer, the founder and 100% owner of Richer Sounds until May 2019.

Tayla said: “There was a stunned silence after Julian made the announcement, which is unusual for a Richer Sounds management conference. After a 30 second pause, there was tremendous applause.

“It was an ‘I was there’ moment that I will never forget. There was a huge buzz around the company over the next few days. Julian came to the Guildford branch the day after the announcement and it was incredible.”

Tayla added that Julian Richer and his management team had been planning to hand control over to his staff for some time. And even after two and a half years of planning, it had still been kept as a surprise.

Julian Richer founded his company, Richer Sounds, in 1978 when he was 19. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Nick Keeper, who is in his third year at Richer Sounds in Guildford said that he will be getting £2,000. “I am very grateful,” he said.

The average payout to the 531 Richer Sounds staff in the 53 stores nationwide is around £8,000. And the largest pay-out at the Guildford branch is £13,000.

Tanya said: “This is life changing for many of our staff. Richer Sounds is the best company I have ever worked for and this proves it.”

Julian Richer told The Guardian: “My father dropped down dead at 60 so I am very keen for this to happen in my lifetime. I felt the time was right, rather than leaving it until I’m not around, to ensure the transition goes smoothly and I can be part of it. I still really, really care but it is time for the next generation.”

The Employee Ownership Association said that there are over 300 businesses, which together have 200,000, staff who use an employee ownership model. This is increasing at about 10% a year with Riverford, the organic vegetable box company and Aardman, the Bristol-based animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit adopting the model.

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