Today, the company has migrated out of the South West and operates from 23 sites spread from the West Country to Scotland. We have 600 trucks covering 80 million kilometres per year, 1,900 employees and an annual turnover in excess of £165 million.
Archibald John Gregory started the business, hauling coal from the station to the local wool factory with a horse and cart. Nine months later, the horse died and was replaced by a 2.9 litre, 4-cylinder Model T motor lorry the start of the Gregory family's entry into the motor transport industry.
The business and fleet had expanded into transporting livestock, meat, agricultural feed and fertilisers and moved to a new site in North Tawton. However the start of the war brought change, with the premises taken over by the War Department. Many of the vehicles were engaged in military activities and in 1945, were returned in a sorry state.
A.J. Gregory's only son, William John (known to his friends as Jack), joined the business aged 23. Jack had a strong grasp of business, having worked at Lloyds Bank in Tavistock, and learnt the ropes whilst also learning to drive.
The fleet had increased to 18 vehicles and outgrown the existing premises, so it moved to another location in North Tawton, where Jack built a large workshop. This still exists as part of the extensive warehouse and depot site.
With an expanding customer base Jack decided to sell the coal operation but unfortunately, his decision coincided with the discovery of a coal dust problem, which attracted much negative media attention. He was forced to sell it for a pittance. It was at this time that he also sold his cattle haulage business.