Grass Roots: Our History
Born in a recession, in a small office on Tring High Street, Grass Roots has grown into a global concern. We've just celebrated our 30th anniversary and employ over 1,000 people with a group turnover in excess of £235 million.
Key Milestones in the history of the Grass Roots Group:
- On April 1st 1980, The Grass Roots Partnership Ltd. is formed by David Evans and Jim White who set up office in an old Rothschild building at 9 High Street, Tring.
- Our first Mystery Shopping survey report is published revealing findings of over 1,000 visits to car dealers and advising on ways to improve customer service.
- The Grass Roots Partnership acquires Bonusplan (owners of Bonusbond Gift Vouchers) and Promotions House Group and is renamed as The Grass Roots Group PLC.
- The Group becomes an affiliate of the WPP Group.
- Grass Roots sells Pendley Manor, its conference and training centre in preparation for moving into Pennyroyal Court.
- Grass Roots moves into Pennyroyal Court - a converted stable block.
- Our in-house Creative Studio is formed.
- Grass Roots is accredited with the British Standards Institute BS EN ISO 9001:1994.
- As a result of a tripartite agreement between Grass Roots, Tring Arts Trust and Dacorum Borough Council, the Pendley Court Theatre re-opens. Grass Roots continues to support the theatre today.
- Our BS ISO accreditation is upgraded to ISO 9001:2000.
- Grass Roots Ireland is incorporated.
- Disabled mystery shopping is added to our portfolio of services.
- The first Options reward catalogue containing over 700 gifts is published.
- Our research report entitled 'The Challenge of Disability' is released.
- A joint initiative by the IDeA and Grass Roots is launched - a distance learning programme to improve knowledge of the needs of Britain's disabled people
Employees learn and are tested on diversity awareness training, as part of their induction - a process that continues today.
- Grass Roots UK is incorporated.
- Grass Roots Spain is set up.
- Care-4, our premier childcare voucher system, is unveiled featuring an electronic voucher for working parents to pay approved carers efficiently and cost-effectively.
- Our first order on Options25 was processed (Sainsburys' vouchers).
- GRGOne Fee, a promotional risk management company starts up. Projectlink and GRG Public Resources (incl. Recovery Management Services Ltd.) are acquired by the Group.
- The Group's turnover exceeds £100 Million for the first time.
- The Group opens an office in Paris.
- The launch of CareAware - childcare learning programme - and bike4work.
- Grass Roots America (formerly BitTime, with offices in Miami, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Caracas and Bogota), Shopcontrol Deutschland GmbH and Parallel Promotions are acquired by the Group.
- The launch of grgCard - the first worldwide reward card.
- Grass Roots UK wins four Golden awards at the ITMA (Incentive Travel & Meetings Awards) for its work with Coca Cola, Mirror Group Newspapers and O2.
- In the Group's largest acquisition to date, Maritz Europa is taken over, adding £100m to turnover. In the UK, BDR is acquired to strengthen our offering in Digital Marketing and Loyalty.
- Grass Roots takes a major shareholding in Spectrum Events AG in Switzerland.
- The launch of Global Options - our worldwide online rewards platform.
- The Asia Pacific regional office opens in Singapore.
- Delegate Management Services Ltd. (DMS) and MMM Ltd. are acquired by the Group to strengthen the events offer.
- The Group's Research & Development Centre opens in Wendover, Bucks.
- Grass Roots UK is included in the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for listing.
- Within the Asia Pacific region, offices in India, China and Australia are opened.
- Venue sourcing specialist company, HBI, is acquired by the Group.
- Tajonline, an online reward and gifting business in India is acquired.
- Grass Roots rises to 53rd in the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for list.
- David Evans, Chairman, is awarded an MBE by The Queen.
- Grass Roots UK appears in the Sunday Times list of top 100 companies to work for, for the third year in succession.
- The number of orders being processed via Options25 reached the one million mark. The number of websites we commercially host for clients nudges 300 with over 25 million web hits per month.
- The UK company is ranked No. 35 in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For - Giving Something Back being our strongest category.
- Cyclescheme, a Bath based business that specialises in the administration of tax efficient cycle to work schemes, becomes part of the Grass Roots Group.
- Grass Roots celebrates its 30th anniversary with a spectacular open air music concert staged in Tring. Over 3,000 employees, clients and local residents enjoy an event which raises more than £70,000 for local schools and sports facilities.
- The UK business also achieves accreditation in ISO 27001, the industry standard in Information Security Management.
- Kidscape was chosen as our corporate charity for the next two years. In the first month, over £4,000 was raised with an apprentice-style challenge.
- Eight Grass Roots employees achieved success in the Institute of Promotional Marketing Diploma examinations
- The second 'Spirit of Tring' event was held with just under 5,000 people enjoying the concerts over the two nights
- Spirit of Tring was awarded the Clarion Awards, Corporate Communications, Live Event and the events division's Danone Baby Nutrition conference won gold in the Domestic Conference of the Year at the C&IT awards
- Our Apprenticeship Scheme was launched with four apprentices selected from local schools to work in the Digital Marketing & Loyalty, Technology, Operations and Creative areas of the business
- Grass Roots was invited to join the Guru Group, feeding into the Government's Task Force on employee engagement led by David MacLeod.