<p>It started out with two men and a dream, a dream of owning their own online kitchen appliance company which was to become a successful and roaring reality. </p>

<p>In 1999 John Roberts and Alan Latchford were enjoying a drink in their local conservative club, when as so often can happen in pubs, a bet was made. Alan challenged John to make their dream of owning their own kitchen appliance company a reality within a year. As most red blooded males know, a challenge is not easy to back down from and so confident in his dream and to give him that extra motivation John handed Alan a cheque for £5000 which he could cash at the end of the year 2000 if their company was not making money. The pair joined forces with John Dutton to form DRL Limited and the rest as they say is history, Alan Latchford never did get to cash that cheque.</p>

<p>Fast forward 9 years to today and DRL currently employ around 200 members of staff across a range of departments. Although the company is primary based online, customers have the option to place their orders over the phone should they wish with a highly trained team of customer service and sales agents on hand to assist the customer. John Roberts is currently the CEO of DRL and Latchford and Dutton over time left the business.</p>

<p>Back in 2000 DRL operated only 2 websites, Appliances Online <a href="http://www.AppliancesOnline.co.uk">www.AppliancesOnline.co.uk</a&gt; and Appliance Deals closely followed by Appliance Heaven. These first sites saw a rapid increase in popularity so much so that when DRL approached Sainsbury’s in the summer of 2004 to offer kitchen appliances online under the Sainsbury’s brand they jumped on board and Sainsbury’s Kitchen Appliances was born. Sainsbury’s were not the only ones to recognise DRL’s flare within the appliance world and soon due to business growth and sales DRL joined forces with other clients including Boots, Focus, B&Q Warehouse, NEXT, Amazon, Screwfix, MFI, Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and House of Fraser. With such a strong list of clients it is hardly surprising that one in every four appliances sold online is through DRL. </p>

<p>Confirmation of DRL’s status can be seen in The Times Fast Track Top 100 award for growth within 2008, ranking 28th. The economy is currently in an unstable state and to rank 28th in such a recognised table is a true reflection of how DRL deal with these tough times – by getting stronger.</p>

<p>DRL currently offer over 4000 products from over 25 brands, the range of kitchen appliances available is staggering. In the beginning DRL would approach manufacturers to get permission to sell their products, now manufacturers approach DRL wanting to get their product ranges exposed using DRL’s expertise and range of websites.</p>

<p>What good would success be if you couldn’t share it with others? Which is exactly what John Roberts thought when he became closely involved with the Bolton Lads and Girls Club, a local charity which allows young people to develop and gives them a place to fulfil their true potential. John became a patron of the charity and became heavily involved with fundraising and supporting this cause. So much so that a Payroll giving scheme was launched for DRL staff to donate through their wages to the Bolton Lads and Girls Club. This currently raises over £1300 a month for the club and to recognise this DRL was given a gold award for their involvement in the Payroll Giving scheme. </p>

<p>A company would be nothing without its staff and DRL’s employees are dedicated to their roles. This was even more evident when staff members attended a Dale Carnegie training course which empowered employees and it became clear DRL employees were forward thinkers. DRL’s strong relationship with each employee is contributing factor to the company’s success.
<br />When John Roberts signed that cheque back in 1999 did he realise he would change the face of the white good industry? Probably not. </p>

<p>If only he could have thought forward 10 years and see the impact he created and the company which DRL Limited would grow to be. 2009 will be a tough year for any online company, DRL have prepared themselves for this and look forward to the next 10 years.</p>

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Published on: 8:02AM on 11th February 2009