Yarmouth manufacturer brings work in house with £67,000 investment

PUBLISHED: 09:38 06 February 2013 | UPDATED: 09:38 06 February 2013

Chris Bowles, Managing Director of Display Products Ltd with an example of a display stand which they produce.

Picture: James Bass

Chris Bowles, Managing Director of Display Products Ltd with an example of a display stand which they produce. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013

A Great Yarmouth-based manufacturing company is looking bring its sub-contracted work back in house after securing a £67,000 loan to invest in new machinery.

Eyes on Lowestoft property market

A Norfolk-based entrepreneur is looking to take a bigger slice of the Lowestoft property market after agreeing a £500,000 loan to grow his business.

Steve Parker, managing director of Parker Developments, is eyeing fresh investment opportunities to bolster his portfolio which already includes 160 lettings in the town.

It comes after the developer, who also owns the Hopton-based business Bure Electrical, spent more than 30 years renovating and extending properties to establish stronger grip on the Lowestoft market.

He said the Santander finance package has given him the freedom to grow his businesses in what will be a “thriving” market in the years ahead.

And he is keen to make the firm a family business by establishing roles for his son and daughter.

“I am looking for property development opportunities in Lowestoft,” he said.

“Running a successful business is all about building good relationships.

“I have been working closely with John Humphreys and the team at Santander and I’m delighted that they have believed in my plans and want to support the business as it continues to grow.”

Display Products has reached a finance agreement with Santander Corporate Banking to fund a new laser-cutting machine, so it can do precision work on acrylic products from its base on Jones Way.

It comes as co-owner Chris Bowles announced this week that they would look to take on another five or eight staff and move the firm into a bigger premises by this time next year.

The aim is to invest about £500,000 in buying, or renting, a 12,000 sq ft property to accommodate the company’s expansion– with Yarmouth’s Beacon Park mooted as a potential location, Mr Bowles said.

The plans follow a period of sustained growth for the company, which is on course to see its turnover rise to £1.4m this year – up £400,000 on last year.

“We started off on eBay, then got our own website, and now we do a lot of trade overseas and nationwide, but it would be nice to increase our sales locally,” Mr Bowles said. “Currently, we are growing about 30 to 40pc year-on-year. We want to take on another five or eight people this time next year and double the size of our premises. “We believe we have found a niche in what we do because there are just not that many people selling display equipment.”

Display Products, which was set up by Mr Bowles and his wife Gemma eight years ago, manufactures and distributes a range of display equipment,including business card holders, display stands, notice boards and signage for both businesses and private customers.

Currently, the company’s exports to Germany, Holland and Ireland count for about 7pc of its total revenue.

And it is hoped the new MultiCam precision laser cutting machine, which will replace an old outdated model, will help increase productivity at the firm’s warehouse.

Mr Bowles added: “We first came to this area about five years ago and took on one of the units, but now we have three.”

“And by the end of this year we will be moving to another premises to expand and grow larger.

“At the moment, our main sales are online, but we hope to have a showroom this time next year where people can come in and order our products.”

Jon Humphreys, relationship director for Santander Corporate Banking, said: “This machine will make a huge difference to them and means they can bring sub-contracted work back into the business, which will make them much more efficient and will have a positive impact on their profit margins too.”

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