Family businesses typically begin with the drive and ambition of a single person – in the case of Colorcote (Norfolk) Ltd it was Steve Baker who had been involved in some of the early powder coatings technology 30 years ago.

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The technique of coating materials with fluidized powder and then baking in an oven was providing a better, more permanent, efficient, and environmentally-friendly finish than conventional paint. This process is applied to 90pc of aluminium and steel products used today.

With several years’ experience in the technology, he decided to venture out on his own in 1985 and rented 3,000sq ft of premises on the former Hethel airfield with £20,000 of capital.

The business grew rapidly, gaining some high-profile customers including J Sainsbury, Boulter Boilers, Foster Refrigeration, Lotus and AGA. Adjoining premises were taken on, occupying 18,000sq ft and employing up to 40 people.

Steve and Sandra Baker’s three sons Spencer, Adam and Jason all came into the business in their teens, and in due course were each given a minority shareholding. Unlike his other brothers, Jason had aspirations to run his own business.

This was when Lovewell Blake partner Steven Scarlett was called in to help.

“The main immediate challenge was to find a way for Jason to achieve his own ambitions, preferably with the support of the rest of the family and without jeopardising the financial security of Colorcote,” he recalls.

Numerous options were discussed during a series of meetings with individuals and the family as a group, before a mutually acceptable solution was agreed.

The family agreed to hive off part of the wet painting side of the business into a separate wholly-owned subsidiary with Jason the sole director. This business grew with Jason highly motivated to prove that he could be a success operating on his own.

“Jason was then keen to be truly independent, something that his brothers supported,” said Steven Scarlett. “Steve ultimately agreed that Jason could acquire the subsidiary (which became Lustre Coatings) in exchange for his minority shareholding in Colorcote, and we implemented a tax-efficient solution to facilitate this.”

There is an understanding among the family that Jason will not inherit any further shares in Colorcote whatever happens in the future, his destiny is now very much in his own hands.

Lustre Coatings has concentrated on very high quality, short-run wet painting work and has built on its reputation for quality within the local automotive and home entertainment sectors, growing from employing just Jason and one other initially, to six within five months. Its employees now include his partner Mandy and his son Jake.

Jason added “If I’m half as successful as my father I’ll be extremely happy”.




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