Sanders Coaches, a family business, was established by Norman and Gladys Sanders in 1975 when they bought George Bennett's seven vehicle fleet in Holt, Norfolk. The initial line-up comprised of four Bedfords, two Fords and an Austin Princess Hearse. Norman's early career was as a British Rail steam fitter at Stratford in East London, but he worked for other coach operators as an engineer before joining Bennett's.
Paul Sanders moved into the newly acquired business as a fitter within a few months of the purchase after which the Company then moved to a new location at Holt Railway Yard.
Charles Sanders joined the Company aged 21 at which time he was able to earn his keep with a PSV license.
Initial stage carriage work came in 1980 when Grooms Coaches of Thursford ceased trading which lead to several weekly or twice weekly shopping services in the Holt area being introduced during 1982 and 1983.
Following cut backs made by Norfolk County Council in rural bus subsidies in 1984, Sanders took over certain workings of the Holt - Sheringham section of Eastern Counties service 768 and extended one journey from Holt to Norwich.
As well as establishing additional shopping services, three commercial routes were acquired from Linkwise Travel of Edingthorpe later that year.
In 1985 the Holt - Sheringham service was extended via Cromer to overstrand in competition with Eastern Counties. This was followed by the extension of a Tuesday return journey between Holt and Kings Lynn. In 1986 services in the Cromer, North Walsham and Mundesley areas were taken over from Easton's which had initially benefited after Eastern Counties closed its Cromer depot.
With bus deregulation, a Monday to Friday Wells-next-the-sea, Fakenham service was introduced to the network by Sanders replacing the service operated by Dunthorne of Wells.
Several weekly excursions from North Norwich were also registered as local services.
The new main base at Holt was erected in May 1991, Sanders current purpose built office block and adjoining workshop and occupies a one acre site at Hempstead Road Industrial Estate.
The firm's base in Fakenham was established following the purchase of Tom Bammant's business. As well as vehicles, the acquisition included a Fakenham to King's Lynn service which was incorporated into an existing facility. In a separate initiative a Summer Coastline service was introduced between Mundesley and Hunstanton on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The North Walsham operating centre was established in April 1993 with the liquidation of Cresent Coaches.
The assets of the company including another one acre site, office block and 23 coaches were purchased from the receivers. It established DAF power in the fleet, a growing influence in what had been a mostly Bedford line up.
Andrew Sanders manages the North Walsham fleet currently standing at 35 vehicles.
1993 saw the takeover of another business, Wards of Mundesley, acquiring eight vehicles. Premises were not included and the vehicles were reallocated to the North Walsham depot.
A few months later operator Dunthorne of Wells-next-the-sea was put up for sale. Although its fleet of Fords were sold off the existing services were incorporated.
The most recent operator to be purchased was Birds of Hunstanton which sold out in the Summer of 1998. Sanders took on the work and most of the vehicles.