Fenland firm bounces back to pre-recession levels

A fenland firm which was hit hard by the recession has bounced back to pre-2009 staff levels and invested �400,000 moving to a new factory.

Wisbech firm Pike Textile Display, which produces fabric and wallpaper pattern books and window-blind sample binders, has moved its operations from two sites in North End and Nene Parade to a 50,000 sqft factory in Sandall Road.

The 100-year-old firm, which has an annual turnover of �5m, employs 120 people. It made 19 people redundant in February 2009, but has now taken the equivalent back on and in some cases the same people have returned.

Managing director of the family-owned firm Jon Allen said: 'We were hit quite hard and very quickly by the recession. Since then we have recovered back to the point we were before the recession.

'We have had a pretty busy spree of nine months. Our customers put new launches on hold for a period. They got cold feet after the financial crisis. They have now breathed a sigh of relief and launched more new products over the last year.

'We are back to full capacity,' he added.

Mr Allen said that the company's fortunes were tied to its customers who were big international brands including Colefax and Fowler.

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'At the moment all our companies are doing very well. They are all global lines The companies' prosperity is not entirely linked to the UK market,' he said.

But as well as the bounce back of customers, he also said that the recent success of the firm had been achieved by going out and finding new customers.

'We have put a lot of effort in since the recession. We went out hard to win new customers.'

Mr Allen said that the move into the new premises would put the business on a more secure footing because of efficiencies which include saving on the cost of moving materials between premises and communication costs between two sites.

'It's great to be under one roof at last,' he added. 'Not only is the new layout more efficient but it's brighter and a much better working environment.'

Mr Allen also said there had been many queries from people looking for work since they moved into the new factory.

'I've never known anything like it. We have been operating in Wisbech for 38 years but never had this level of interest.

'I must say that the new site in Sandall Road does look impressive. At certain times of the year the nature of our business warrants high usage of temporary staff, so the current interest is allowing us to build a database of potential employees.'

Local contractors employed to adapt the factory for use by Pike Textile Display include Sloan Building & Maintenance, Wisbech Electrical and Burton Heating.

The business started in London before moving to March and, eventually, Wisbech in 1973.