30/07/2012 - Permalink

Local business enjoys a 100% increase in sales following grant

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Following a grant of £4,000 from The Shropshire and Herefordshire Business Enterprise Fund, Classic Carder at Muckley Cross has been able to move into a purpose built workshop. As a result the manufacturing of the handmade carders has increased 100% year on year, with owner Paul Brittain taking on his first full time employee in June 2012.

Classic Carder has attended several exhibitions throughout the UK and they are now the leading UK supplier of drum carder machines. Since moving into the workshop a new wide carder has been developed, with the advantages of increased capacity to process raw fleece into fibres ready for spinning. Other projects are in development, but with orders for the current product range so strong focus is on fulfilling orders rather than development. Future plans for the company include exporting the carders to Europe and the rest of the world.

Prior to moving into the purpose built workshop manufacturing of the carder’s was undertaken outside, when the weather was inclement production was stopped. “We were really lucky that the build of the workshop was undertaken in January and February and we were able to move into the new workshop before the rains started in April. If we had been operating outside like last year, productivity would have decreased but business is really strong and we are still struggling to keep up with demand even with the new employee on board” explained owner Paul.

Councillor Keith Barrow, Shropshire Council’s leader, said:

“Shropshire has some really diverse and interesting companies that manufacture very individual and bespoke products which have tended to buffer them from the worst of the recession allowing some to flourish. The Shropshire and Herefordshire Business Enterprise Grant Scheme was set up to aid these types of unique businesses, assisting them to make a step change in performance and generate employment opportunities”.

Robert Tindall, Shropshire Councillor for Brown Clee, said:

“I am delighted that this additional funding will enable the company to significantly increase its turnover and I am particularly pleased to see the increase in light industry in my otherwise very rural division.”

The Shropshire and Herefordshire Business Enterprise Fund has a £1million fund with grants available of between £1,000 to £5,000 for existing businesses and up to £1,500 for new or young businesses under nine months old. All grants need to be match funded 50% by the business. Regular rounds for businesses to bid into are held with the next round closing on 13 August. To find out more about the eligibility of this fund people can visit shropshire.gov.uk/sbef or call 01743 252596 to undertake a short eligibility check.