Ingenuity, courage and hard work – 30 years in the business

27th July 2020

Ingenuity, courage and hard work – 30 years in the business

Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way, it’s not a matter for chance – it’s a matter of choice.

When Rick Marchand founded Marchand Petit on 10th June 1990, he had a vision of opening a network of estate agency offices across the West Country that delivered an unprecedented standard of customer service, giving their clients and customers total support, guiding them professionally and attentively through what can be one of the most important decisions of their lives.

This Company purpose is still on the back of every Marchand Petit team member’s nameplate, sitting on their desk today, inspiring them to continue the legacy.

Having been brought up in Salcombe in his youth, the area Rick focused his energy and tenacity on was the picturesque South Hams.  This coastal and rural region of Devon is known for its rugged beauty, from the edges of Dartmoor down to the dramatic coastline, interspersed with its necklace of golden sandy beaches.

Much of this region of Devon is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rick knew that there was a great demand for the quality of life and lifestyle that such an area can deliver and, whatever the market conditions were, that property with a “coastal feel” would always appeal.

The distinctive Marchand Petit company logo was Rick’s design “are they sails or rooftops?”.  The brand has become synonymous with top quality property and excellent service.  The first office to open in 1990 was in Fore Street Kingsbridge, with just one-third of the space it now occupies on the ground floor of the former Albion Hotel.  The housing market was so tough in the early 1990s that within a year or so one-third of the other 12 Estate Agencies in the town had to close down.

The Lettings Department was pioneered by Madeline Marchand, working from home in those early days, but then moving into the extended Kingsbridge Office. 

The attractive market town of Modbury, in the heart of the South Hams, was the location for the second office, which opened in 1994.

A fortuitous lunch with the bank manager at the now Salcombe Harbour Hotel during Merlin Rocket Sailing Week secured the third branch - Salcombe.  Then followed Dartmouth, Totnes and Newton Ferrers, all vibrant destinations - established as picture-perfect country locations with historic streets and boutique shops attracting local and international homebuyers.

Madeline moved across to sales based at Kingsbridge, and after a time the Country House Department was created.  Around this time, the company expanded into Dartmouth, Totnes and Newton Ferrers.  Through this expansion, the company became known as the Leading South Hams Agent.


It hasn’t all been plain sailing, innovative ideas were implemented when recession gripped the UK, but they kept the Company together and the doors open. The success of a business relies on the skills and talents of its employees and the partnership has always ensured the rewards, motivation and protection are there across the multi-disciplined departments. 

After 30 years of dedicated property practice, the ethos of the firm is the same with a motivated workforce focused on selling your home and a team proud to work for Marchand Petit.