The rise of the company under Gerard Eadie's leadership is described in depth in “Great Scots in Family Business”, published by Lang Syne Publishers for Scottish Enterprise.
Mr Eadie is a strong believer in generating business through sales and marketing. He began by using newspaper advertising, weekend exhibitions in hotels as well as recommendations from previous customers. CR Smith has always been a prominent advertiser on TV; its first advert, which was aired in 1986, featured all the staff working at the company at the time.
CR Smith was established in 1917 by Charles Robertson Smith. Originally the company operated a paint and picture framing shop in Alloa and a glazing workshop in James Street, Dunfermline. The company carried out general glazing repairs and fitted single glazed windows. It continued to be owned and run by the Smith family until 1977, when it was bought by Gerard Eadie.
Mr Eadie had been a glazing apprentice with Fife Council before setting up his own business, Gerry Eadie Glazing Contractor, with a £50 loan from his late mother. He had bought glass from CR Smith in James Street and knew Bert Smith, Charles Smith’s grandson, very well.
Just 25 at the time that he bought CR Smith, he paid £2,200 - half for the business and half for its Olivetti cash machine. He chose to keep the CR Smith name because of the sixty years heritage that went along with it. However, he recognised that the market was changing. More people were being encouraged to buy their own homes and with that went the need and desire to improve. Double glazing was in its infancy, but this was where Mr Eadie saw an opportunity.
CR Smith continued to operate from James Street until August 1981 when the company moved to new premises in Gardeners Street, Dunfermline where it remains today. In 1979 the CR Smith factory moved to Lochgelly and then to Dalgety Bay in 1980, before the company opened its purpose built manufacturing plant in Cowdenbeath in 1985.
The distinctive CR Smith blue and white van, introduced 30 years ago, pioneered the trend for branding and vehicle liveries. Alan Wiseman of Wiseman Diaries is quoted as saying that he attributed his company’s growth in part to the lesson he learned from the CR Smith fleet (Great Scots in Family Business).
In 1984 the firm was to become a household name when it announced a three year shirt sponsorship deal with both Celtic and Rangers simultaneously. Because of deep set sectarian sentiment, no company had dared to support one club for fear of alienating the fans of the other side. Others, however, have since followed this example of sponsoring both clubs.
The Lorimer Range
of uPVC windows, doors, conservatories and roofline products is unique to
CR Smith. Specifically designed for the Scottish climate, the market leading uPVC products are also aesthetically pleasing due the ultra slim profile which replicates real timber. The Lorimer brand, designed and developed by Mr Eadie, is exclusive to CR Smith and all products are made to measure for each individual customer in our Cowdenbeath factory.
Today, CR Smith continues to be owned and run by Gerard Eadie CBE.