The birth of Centaur Services


Centaur Services was established in 1964 by a group of veterinary surgeons who recognised a need to change the way they purchased products in what was a rapidly evolving industry. At that time the range of therapeutic and prophylactic products was fast expanding and managing multiple suppliers was becoming a logistical and administrative burden. And so was born The West of England Veterinary Wholesale Supply Company Ltd, later to be renamed Centaur Services.

The business was created as a veterinarian-owned co-operative. Only veterinarians could become members (shareholders) and customers, and in turn they would receive a share of any profits and were entitled to voting rights.

Trading commenced on 1 March 1964 in Castle Cary, Somerset, with the commercial management of the business delegated to local pharmacist, Ken Youings. There were no courier services available so orders would be distributed by train and customers would go to their local station to collect their order!

Veterinarians reaped the benefits from this new way of purchasing from a single source, with keener prices due to economies of scale, simpler administration and finance systems, tighter stock control and same day dispatch of multiple products in a single order.

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