About the Company
Founded in 1860 by James Graven, the company, based in Ely, specialised in agricultural engineering, exporting goods all over the world, predominately to India. Over the next few years, James Graven & Sons began developing steam engines, mainly for agricultural purposes, before moving into the motor vehicles industry in 1912. At this time, James Graven attended a reception with the founder of Ford Motors, Henry Ford, at the Savoy in London. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the company moved into fuel retailing in Ely and Chatteris in partnership with Esso.
In 2000 Rebecca James (née Graven) took over as Managing Director, taking the company into 6th generation management, and the day-to-day management passed from her father to her husband, Jonathan.
In 1994, Slade End Service Station was built in Chatteris, followed by the creation of Witchford Road Service Station in Ely in August 2002. Due to its prime location and largely transient customer base, this service station is one of the busiest forecourts in the country and, in 2003, won Forecourt Trader of the Year for best site in Southern England, and the UK, and overall forecourt of the Year.
The following year, the group acquired Budgens in Soham. This was the first corporate store to be sold to an independent retailer. 2004 also witnessed the rebuild of the West Park Street site in Chatteris, which provided the community with a complete and fully refurbished convenience store and forecourt offering. In 2007, James Graven & Sons Ltd acquired the Budgens store in Dersingham, Norfolk. Wisbech Road, Littleport was opened in November 2010.